Friday, September 19, 2008

Georgia Tech and Green: Game Day Recycling Effort

NF Note: Here is another great idea from Georgia Tech. Kudos to the students who are involved with this recycling project. I wonder if any of the schools in Fayette County or any of the student organizations at our middle and high schools are going to start this type of program?

Georgia Tech students are showing their game day spirit this fall by doing more than showing up to cheer on the Yellow Jackets.

“Football games bring thousands of people to campus to tailgate and watch the game, and in the past we just threw away tons of bottles, cans and cups every game,” said Student Government President Nick Wellkamp. “With Game Day Recycling, we give every tailgate party a recycling bag and ask them to recycle their glass, plastic and aluminum. This year, there are also recycling bins in the stadium and the private boxes, so that fans are encouraged to recycle during the entire length of the game day experience.”

The Game Day Recycling program is single-stream recycling, meaning that fans can just throw all of their recyclables into one bin or bag, rather than separating items out manually.

According to Wellkamp, this makes it much easier to recycle, and organizers have found almost all fans and tailgaters willing to participate.

Different student organizations will be volunteering to distribute bags for each game. For the first game, SGA volunteered to distribute bags, and IFC gave bags to all of the fraternity houses. The result was more than 1 ton of recyclable materials collected.

Wellkamp believes Game Day Recycling is an important initiative and students are getting involved because they care about the Georgia Tech community.

“The program extends Georgia Tech’s green efforts to all aspects of the community, including alumni and fans,” said Wellkamp. “Football games are large special events that have a huge environmental impact, and recycling all of our glass, plastic and aluminum can save tons of this material from going into landfills. Students are passionate about sustainability and proud that
Georgia Tech is becoming a leader in the field of sustainability.”

According to organizers, the biggest challenge is educating people so that they do not accidentally use the recycling bags as trash bags. Their concern is that they don’t want to get contaminated materials.

Wellkamp believes the program will be a success if Tech can get sustained student involvement and get fans and tailgaters to use the recycling containers properly.

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