A winning approach to recycling
In Minnesota, sports facilities are now required to recycle at sporting events. This includes college and professional sports venues.
The University of Minnesota Morris has been successfully recycling at their campus and sporting events for several years. Home of the Cougars, the U of M Morris has two baseball fields, a softball and track field, a stadium, and an indoor court. During sporting events, the most common recyclable materials are plastic bottles and paper programs. Here are a few things they learned along the way of becoming a leader in campus sustainability.
Starting up a successful campus-wide recycling initiative takes time and practice. Communicating with the other departments played a key role in building trust and gaining acceptance of their recycling initiative. The U of M Morris holds an annual summit with other departments to share their successes, address concerns and, most importantly, collaborate on green initiatives at the campus.
Less is more
Removing the trash bins from the parking lots and all the classrooms seemed like a risky move but the strategy paid off in many ways.
- Students, staff, and visitors were receptive to walk the 20-30 feet to the nearest receptacle
- No noticeable increase in litter in the parking lots
- The custodians saved time with a more efficient, streamlined collection
- Cost savings by using fewer trash liners
Cost saving strategies - know what you throw
By taking the time look at the waste stream from each building and facility, the U of M Morris was able to identify some cost saving strategies.
- Removed more than 60 trash cans from classrooms and replaced them with trash and recycling receptacles in the hallways
- Placed trash and recycling containers next to each other at all facilities
- Share receptacles between the BigCat Stadium and the indoor court facilities
Resources to get you started
If you do not have a recycling program - or want to improve the one you have - there are many resources to help you.
- A good place to start is with your garbage hauler. Most haulers offer recycling along with garbage pick-up
- Greening the games by the Natural Resource Defense Council
- Recycling Association of Minnesota: Downloadable recycling signs and offers grants for recycling bins.
- Waste Wise: A program of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce offers waste audits, guidance, and success stories
- Green sports (U.S. EPA)
- Greening sports (PPRC)