Over 1/3 of Game Day Waste Diverted From Landfills

Author: Dana Bakirtjy

34% of the material produced during this season’s game days was diverted from landfills. Over 102 tons of material was recycled from both the stadium bowl and tailgating lots—an amount equivalent to preventing the release of 352 metric tons of CO2 emissions or taking almost 1000 cars off of the road.

This year’s numbers were largely dependent on the time of the game and the weather. Games with clear skies and warm temperatures such as the Rice and North Carolina games saw a larger uptick in recycling while later start times and questionable weather like those of the Michigan and Northwestern games resulted in lower collection rates.

Game day recycling in the tailgating lots is coordinated by the Office of Sustainability and consists of student groups handing out recycling bags and engaging tailgaters in the correct use of the bags (everything goes in but food and liquids). A sweep to collect full bags is made once before the game by a third party contractor and collection is ramped up once the game starts. These full bags are deposited in compactors and dumpsters staged around campus to await further collection.

Materials in the stadium have a vastly different collection process. Since all materials sold in the stadium are recyclable, the ease of collection improves significantly. All materials remaining in the bowl after the game are blown down to the sidelines and are then rinsed to remove excess food and liquids. The clean materials are then collected and transported to compactors to await collection.

Despite being dealt several blows of bad weather, the campus community was very successful at upholding Notre Dame’s traditions of service and accountability as well as making progress towards its commitment to a 50% landfill diversion rate by 2016.