LAWRENCE — Jayhawk fans and volunteers at Memorial Stadium have quickly embraced the new Rock Chalk Recycle program during gamedays this fall. In its first year, Rock Chalk Recycle has earned the University of Kansas the No. 2 ranking in the Big 12 Conference for the Game Day Recycling Challenge 2013, a friendly competition among U.S. colleges and universities.
“This is an incredible achievement for our first year,” said Center for Sustainability Director Jeff Severin. “Rock Chalk Recycle has had a major impact on reducing the size of our environmental footprint at home games this fall.”
Rock Chalk Recycle, a partnership between KU Recycling and KU Athletics, is a waste-reduction effort that includes both recycling and composting in KU Athletics venues, as well as in tailgating areas at Memorial Stadium. To date, the program has diverted more than 20,000 pounds of recyclable and organic material from the landfill at football games alone.
Since the program was launched this fall, more than 100 volunteer Waste Ambassadors have provided more than 300 hours of community service as part of the effort to raise awareness about waste reduction efforts and educate fans about the program.
Volunteers can sign up for remaining football and basketball games at www.rockchalkrecycle.com.
“This is an important milestone for us,” said Manny Abarca, recycling operations coordinator, “but it is only the beginning. The Game Day Challenge was just one day, but Rock Chalk Recycle is part of every home KU Athletics event in every sport and something we will expand across campus.”
Rankings are based on the highest recycling rates achieved during the competition period. At the Oct. 5 game against Texas Tech, KU reached a season-high diversion rate of more than 37 percent, recycling 2,896 and composting 2,511 pounds, compared to the 9,020 pounds of trash that was sent to the landfill. KU also ranked No. 2 among participating Big 12 universities in the Diversion Rate (recycling and composting combined) and Waste Minimization (least amount of waste generated per attendee) categories, and No. 1 in Organics (composting).
More than 85 schools across the nation took on the Game Day Challenge to collect cans, bottles, cardboard, food waste and more from the tailgate areas, stadium seating and concessions during at least one home game. The competition was administered by the College & University Recycling Coalition, Keep America Beautiful and RecycleMania Inc., with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More information and full results are available here.