The University of Rochester is the national champion in the diversion category of the 2018 National GameDay Recycling Challenge. The University, which has participated in the competition since 2010, earned top honors alongside Clemson University, this year’s national champion for total materials recycled, composted, or donated.
The annual recycling challenge is the nation’s premier collegiate football waste reduction competition. Each fall, participating colleges and universities attempt to achieve zero-waste status at home football games.
As part of Meliora Weekend in October 2018, the University of Rochester Yellowjackets faced off against the St. Lawrence Saints. During and after the game, Rochester students and staff volunteered as “zero-waste rangers” who collected and sorted waste while raising awareness about sustainability efforts on campus. In addition, Dining Services provided compostable materials as part of the event’s concessions and catering, while other partners from Athletics and Recreation, Facilities and Services, Horticulture and Grounds, and the University’s waste and recycling partner Waste Management also contributed to the winning effort.
This year Rochester’s diversion rate was 91.71 percent, which includes all recycling, plus organics composting and recovery as a percent of total trash. Since 2015, the University has consistently achieved a diversion rate above 90 percent—a dramatic improvement from the 40 percent diversion rate in 2010.
“We are very proud to receive this honor and thank the organizers for challenging us all to make big improvements in waste reduction,” says event organizer Amy Kadrie, the sustainability coordinator in University Facilities and Services. “Through the lessons we have learned over time, and the support of all who are involved, we have managed to maintain a true zero-waste status for the past four years straight yielding in big results on our small-scale operation.”