FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas fans are doing their part for campus sustainability while they cheer for the Razorbacks this school year. Thanks to a new program called ‘Recycling with the Razorbacks,’ fans at home football and basketball games were able to provide more than 45 tons of recyclable material, more than a third of all the trash picked up after the games.
The program was spearheaded by the university department of intercollegiate athletics in conjunction with the department of facilities management and the Associated Student Government. During the football season clean-up crews collected more than 36.5 tons of recyclables and reduced the amount of trash going to the landfill to only 61.5 tons. That represented a recycling diversion rate of 37 percent.
Totals for the basketball season aren’t available yet, but Justin Maland, assistant athletic director for facilities, said that 10 tons would be a conservative estimate of the recyclable material collected at Bud Walton Arena so far. The final home basketball game is Saturday, March 8.
“In our first year one of the main goals is fan awareness,” said Maland. “We want our fans to know that they have a chance to recycle their trash, not just throw it away. This year most of the recycled material has been picked up by our clean-up crews after the fans leave, but with time we expect fans will start noticing and using the green recycling boxes around the stadium and the arena.”
Those boxes, 500 of them, were donated by Waste Management Inc., which is a major player in ‘Recycling with the Razorbacks.’ In addition, Maland says the company has provided compactors to help consolidate the trash and recyclables. Waste Management Inc. is also involved with hauling, processing and marketing the collected recyclables.
Maland said that during the football season students helped out before the game, patrolling the tailgating areas, mixing with the fans, collecting recyclables and getting people to think about recycling.
“We gave them T-shirts with a recycling message and let them do some ‘PR’ for us, spreading the word about ‘Recycling with the Razorbacks.’ In return we saved them some good seats in the student section during the games.”
Maland said community service groups, which have been the backbone of the post-game cleanups for years, pitched in to help with the recycling as well.
“They do the work to raise money for their organization, but they enjoy helping the environment at the same time,” he said.
‘Recycling with the Razorbacks’ continues this spring during Razorback baseball games at Baum Stadium at George Cole Field.