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Connecticut University Wins EPA Recycling Challenge

Release Date: 01/11/2012
Contact Information: David Deegan, 617-918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Jan. 11, 2012) – Central Connecticut State University was among five schools nationwide to win the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2011 Game Day Challenge, a competition among colleges and universities nationwide with the goal of lowering waste generated at college football games and increasing participation in waste reduction programs.

As part of the challenge, seven schools in New England and more than 75 schools across the nation designed a waste reduction plan for one 2011 regular season home football game, measured their results and submitted them to EPA.

“When academic institutions reduce, reuse, and recycle at their ball games, they can lead the way for the rest of the campus in showing they have the tools and resources to reduce waste across all campus activities and beyond,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.

Central Connecticut State University won in the Waste Minimization category, meaning they had the least amount of waste generated per attendee. Each attendee generated an average of .059 pounds of waste at the game. Yale University came in second with an average of 2.19 pounds of waste per attendee.

“The bottle bill in Connecticut makes a difference and I realized our food service uses tissues for everything, no trays or heavy dishes,” said Domenic Forcella, director of environmental health and safety at Central Connecticut State University. “Plus, there’s a limited menu so there’s no popcorn boxes and basically everything we serve comes wrapped in tissue.”

Other schools that participated in New England were Harvard University; the Campus Sustainability Initiative at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst; Brown University; the University of Rhode Island, and Bryant University.

Other categories and the winners were:

Diversion Rate Champion (Highest combined recycling and composting rate) - University of California, Davis

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Champion (Greatest greenhouse gas reductions from diverting waste) - University of Virginia

Recycling Champion (Highest recycling rate) - University of Virginia

Organics Reduction Champion (Highest organics reduction rate) - Marist College

Participating colleges and universities, including 2.7 million fans, diverted more than 500,000 pounds of waste from football games this fall, preventing nearly 810 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to the annual emissions from 159 passenger vehicles.

These colleges and universities and their fans took one step further to green the gridiron and help build awareness around the importance of recycling, reducing, and reusing. In 2010, Americans kept 85 million tons of waste out of landfills by recycling and composting, boosting the national recycling rate to 34 percent. Out of the 165 million tons of waste that went into landfills, food scraps made up 20 percent. Food is the single largest waste stream that ends up in landfills.

To address food waste, EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge under the Sustainable Materials Management program encourages schools to donate surplus and wholesome fresh food from sporting venues and cafeterias, instead of throwing it away. EPA is hosting a webinar on this topic on Thursday Jan. 19 for colleges and universities. Those who want to participate can go to http://www.epa.gov/osw/rcc/web-academy/.

The competition was sponsored by EPA’s WasteWise program, a voluntary program through which organizations eliminate costly municipal solid waste and select industrial wastes, benefiting their bottom line and the environment.

More information:

Participant results: http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/partnerships/wastewise/challenge/gameday/results.htm

How the results are determined:
http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/partnerships/wastewise/challenge/gameday/measure.htm

List of participating schools: http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/partnerships/wastewise/challenge/gameday/schools.htm

EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge: http://www.epa.gov/foodrecoverychallenge

EPA’s WasteWise Program: http://www.epa.gov/wastewise

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