EPA urges eco-friendly game day

The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has issued a challenge for universities across the nation to reduce trash at college football games.

The eco-friendly initiative, WasteWise, marks Sept. 30 as the last day schools can register to compete. The University of Illinois is on the fence whether it will participate in the program.

According to the “EPA’s website”:http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/partnerships/wastewise/challenge/gameday/schools.htm, nine schools will be participating so far in the 2011 Game Day Challenge, including the University of Michigan.

Stacy Kika, EPA spokeswoman, said in an email the program will allow colleges to see others’ innovative methods of tackling the rising garbage dilemma.

“The Game Day Challenge is an excellent opportunity for college students and football fans to do their part for the environment and cut down on the waste at sporting events,” she said. “We hope that schools without waste reduction programs will decide to implement one based on their experience with the program.”

Kent Brown, assistant athletics director, said a waste management system, which is part of facilities and services, has been in place for years to clean up the garbage after football games.

With eight home games scheduled for this football season, Brown said about 50,000 people are expected to attend each game. He added that all the garbage goes to the campus’ waste management system, which separates the refuse into recyclable items.

Brown said dozens of maintenance workers and student groups, who are fundraising for their organizations, assist in cleaning up the stadium after a football game.

Kika said students and residents should be more aware of “environmentally-friendly ways”:https://www.dailyillini.com/index.php/article/2011/08/go_green_biking_to_class_eliminating_plastic_bag_use_helps_conserve_energy to get rid of trash.

“We hope that more of the general public is aware of the amount of waste they generate and the opportunities that exist for them to reduce their waste,” she said.

Bill Plunkett, spokesperson for Waste Management of Illinois, said students should be “looking out”:https://www.dailyillini.com/index.php/article/2011/05/4dc216673f27d for available recycling bins.

“We encourage students to be aware of where recycling containers are,” Plunkett said. “The materials can be used for new products.”

He said the recyclables are sent to a materials recovery facility where they are separated into plastics, paper, aluminum and steel through an automated system.

Once the separation process has happened, the items are placed in individual containers, which are sent to different companies.

The plastics are sent to manufacturers who will use it to make playground equipment, new containers and plastic lumber.

The paper will be sent to mills to create other paper products.

The aluminum and steel cans will be sent to major beverage and metal companies to also make new containers, Plunkett said.

He said Waste Management “seeks to collect as much recyclables as we can.”

Kika said the EPA wants universities new to the initiative to at least try out the WasteWise program. Returning colleges to the program should compare their efforts against other schools, in order to make environmentally positive strides, she added.

“EPA is using this challenge as a way to help schools realize the amount of waste that can be diverted from such events and increase the awareness and participation in waste reduction opportunities at these events,” Kika said.