In February 2011, the University of Pennsylvania hosted a zero-waste basketball game. All waste was either composted or recycled. The initiative was part of RecycleMania — an eight-week recycling competition between universities across the country.
All food packaging sold at the game was either recyclable or compostable. Foil packaging was not used. Instead, food was served in compostable cardboard trays, while drinks were served in recyclable bottles. Bins usually used for garbage were recommissioned for composting for the night. Eco-Reps helped fans sort their waste.
The game provided an opportunity for administrators to learn how to organize composting at a large-scale venue other than a cafeteria.
In a similar vein, the University of Michigan hosted a zero-waste basketball game against Harvard in December 2010. Cups, plates, forks, napkins and trays served at the game were made of natural materials to facilitate composting. Cold cups and trays will be made of a biodegradable corn-based material called polylactic acid.
Rather than trash barrels placed along the concourse, two bins at each waste station labeled as either “recycling” or “composting.” Student volunteers were posted at each waste station. About 35 cubic yards (or about 1 ton) of trash are generated at a typical game, while only about 1 cubic yard of recycling is generated.
Does your facility have best practices to share for recycling at sporting events? We welcome your ideas.