Game Day Recycling Showcase

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Over the last few years, UT Recycling has helped a number of departments make their events zero waste, including Chancellor’s lunches, first-year picnics, and Facilities Services holiday parties. The term “Zero Waste” refers to a landfill diversion rate of 90% or more, and our biggest Zero Waste goal is at the heart of our campus, Neyland Stadium.

Facilities Services employees work day in and day out to optimize operations and maximize the landfill diversion rate for game day waste. The passion and dedication of everyone involved has proven that with cooperation from all parties, we can turn Neyland Stadium into a Zero Waste facility.  During the 2013 football season, the highest diversion rate for a game was 38%.  This year?  65% of waste from the Missouri game was diverted from the landfill!

Game Day Recycling Challenge   

This outstanding diversion rate gained the University of Tennessee national recognition through the Game Day Recycling Challenge in which UT ranked 2nd out of 90 universities in the total recycling category! Each year, UT Recycling competes in this nationwide challenge with this year being the most successful yet! The following categories were reserved for those who included BOTH stadium AND tailgate area trash and recycling.

  • We placed 2nd in the nation in the Total Recycling category, with 47,560 lbs recycled/composted/donated from the Missouri game
  • We placed 11th in the nation in the Diversion Rate category with a 65.44% diversion rate from the Missouri game

Among SEC schools we placed**:

  • 2nd in Per Capita Recycling, with 0.493 lbs per person from the Missouri game
  • 3rd in Waste Minimization, with 0.198 lbs per person from the Kentucky game
  • 3rd in Greenhouse Gas Reduction, with 0.00067 metric tons of CO2 equivalent/person from Missouri game
  • 2nd in Organics Reduction, 0.065 lbs per person from Missouri game
  • 3rd in Diversion Rate, with 65.44% also from the Missouri game

Educational Outreach

In order to speed up the process of making Neyland Stadium as well as the campus at large Zero Waste, the University of Tennessee is making strides to educate Vols about the simple changes they can make to reduce their own impact. Here are a couple of UT Recycling initiatives that work to educate, engage and encourage Vols to participate in making UT waste free:

13571_662091827169121_336969496_nGet Caught Green Handed

Another way UT Recycling encouraged Volunteers to keep our campus clean on Game Days was through their new Get Caught Green Handed program.  The UT Recycling staff, or Waste Warriors, would hand out game specific patches to fans that they saw keeping their tailgate area clean by separating trash from recycling.  At each game they also gave away two footballs autographed by Butch Jones to fans (one tailgater and one game goer) that went out of their way to help minimize the amount of waste left behind.

UT Zero Waste- Football and Beyond

This semester, UT Recycling and Creative Communications will be launching UT Zero Waste – a new initiative that will give students, faculty and staff the opportunity to coordinate their own Zero Waste events and develop event-based based sustainability practices. We will keep you updated on this initiative as it develops but feel free to email UT’s Zero Waste Coordinator, Bea Ross (, if you have any questions.


**The results from the SEC do not necessarily include stadium AND tailgate area results. Additionally, these were calculated on a per-capita basis, so we ranked a little differently here.

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