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California Selected Winner of Pac-12 Zero Waste Competition

By Pac-12 Conference

Photo credit: Cal Athletics

Photo credit: Cal Athletics

The Pac-12 Conference announced today that the University of California was selected the overall winner of the Pac-12’s Zero Waste Competition for the 2017-2018 basketball season, with three other Pac-12 universities selected as winners of subcategories. Each Pac-12 institution participates in the competition with the goal of determining which university diverted the most waste from the landfill at a selected men’s basketball game, as well as which used the most innovative methods to expand reach and impact of sustainability education efforts.

The “Conference of Champions” is a leader in Green Sports. The Pac-12 is the first conference to have all its member universities join the Green Sports Alliance. It also became the first league to host a sustainability conference where it announced another first — the creation of a Pac-12 Sustainability Working Group, which includes representatives from each of the 12 athletic departments and school’s sustainability office. The working group works to ensure the Conference keeps pushing the green envelope on sponsorships, fan engagement and overall awareness of the sustainability advancements in the Conference.

The Pac-12 Zero Waste Bowl provides a friendly reminder and spirited platform for Pac-12 universities to engage on best practices in athletics waste diversion and to learn how each campus strives towards zero waste goals. In addition to the overall waste diversion rate, the universities were scored on innovation, partnership and participation, and fan engagement.

Three judges selected one overall winner and one winner in three categories. The judging panel was:

Bill Walton, Pac-12 representative, basketball legend and sustainability enthusiast
Tyler Sytsma, Sustainability Coordinator at UNC Charlotte
Mike Carey, Sustainability Coordinator at the Orange Coast College (Zero Waste/Diversion expert)

Each school submitted a summary scorecard describing their efforts around the Zero Waste game upon which they were judged. The criteria was weighted in the following way: 25 percent participation and partnerships, 50 percent stadium diversion rate and 25 percent innovation credit.

“Congratulations to the Pac12 – Conference of Champions – on yet another fantastic accomplishment in the biggest game of all — life! We certainly distinguished ourselves in the drive to achieve a sustainable lifestyle so that we can achieve the most important goal ever, to keep this all going,” said Walton. “All of our member schools have terrific sustainability programs and departments, setting us far on this most important front. Particular note must be pointed out for the excellent presentations and submissions from overall winner, California.”

2018 Basketball Zero Waste Competition Winner:  CALIFORNIA (vs. Washington, Feb. 24, 2018)
California achieved a 95.7 percent game-day diversion, which included diversion of landfill garbage, cardboard and mix paper recycling, bottles and cans, compost and food/recovery donations. The theme for the day centered around zero waste and sustainability, emphasizing ReUSE. Local elementary school students volunteered to “trash talk” with fans at the game, and other volunteers helped fans to reduce, reUSE, recycle and compost. Fans were also encouraged to donate used clothing in exchange for a repurposed Cal t-shirt.

Fan Engagement:  ARIZONA – Student-run campaign
Since 2015, Arizona has grown its program to engage the campus community and city of Tucson. The Zero Waste program is almost entirely run by impassioned student activists across several campus sustainability groups, including UA Green Team and Greening the Game. The student groups decided to adopt the entirety of the 2017-18 men’s basketball season. Students took over greater leadership roles to implement zero waste efforts which resulted in 27,580 pounds of recycling, 18,140 pounds of composting and 30,900 pounds of landfill materials for a full-season diversion rate of 59.7 percent.

Special Recognition for Exemplary Effort:  ARIZONA STATE (vs. USC, Feb. 8, 2018)
Fans had the opportunity to win a Zero Waste swag bag. In order to participate, they had to take a picture or video of themselves recycling at the Green Game on Snapchat and use the unique Geofilter that was made for the game. ASU also hosted a sustainability expo providing fans an opportunity to engage with sustainability representatives as well as to promote ASU’s sustainability initiatives. The high profile nature of the expo helped to increase the exposure of zero waste and other sustainability initiatives at ASU. During the game, the 942 Crew student fan group dressed as the “bag monster” for the curtain of distraction.

Student-Athlete Engagement:  STANFORD – Student-Athlete Video
A Cardinal field hockey student-athlete led her teammates to create promotional videos related to waste and recycling that showed the teammates juggling water bottles on their field hockey sticks and “scoring” by getting the water bottle in the recycling bin. The Office of Sustainability was able to use these videos to promote recycling and composting at the game by posting them to its social media channels.

Read the full release here.

Twin Cities Charities Divert Tons of Waste From Super Bowl

Star Tribune
Twin Cities nonprofits have kept the Super Bowl leftovers from landfills. 

 

he Salvation Army is acting as a distribution hub for Super Bowl LII leftovers. Above, marketing director Michelle Wong with some of the donated items and food.

The Salvation Army is acting as a distribution hub for Super Bowl LII leftovers. Above, marketing director Michelle Wong with some of the donated items and food. Photo Source: Star Tribune

What could have become a giant dump of Super Bowl leftovers from U.S. Bank Stadium, the Convention Center and Nicollet Mall is instead being reused and repurposed by more than 20 local charities.

The Salvation Army has collected more than 1 million square feet of mesh fencing, banners and carpeting used before and during the Super Bowl and is distributing the materials to other local charities.

Then there’s the miscellaneous — the Kitten Bowl set, pallets of hand warmers, food and beverages, and supplies such as desks, pens, pencils and Post-it notes for more than 100 offices in the temporary headquarters.

“No one wants to take those supplies back with them, so we donate them to charities to use in classrooms,” said Jack Groh, director of the NFL Environmental Program, which facilitates the material recovery project. “It’s more than 2,000 pounds of supplies.”

More than 16 months ago, the National Football League’s Environmental Program began building a network of charities to use Super Bowl leftovers instead of sending them to the landfill.

“We’re the first pro sports league to do this,” Groh said. ”The initiative started 25 years ago and now we do it at major sports events like the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl and the draft.”

The Twin Cities Salvation Army took the lead by acting as a distribution hub for nearly all the items. It used most of its fleet of 18 donation trucks to collect the materials from four major sites and transported it to its warehouse and store at 900 N. 4th St. in Minneapolis. From there, the other 21 charities could pick up what was useful for them.

“It’s an enormous amount of stuff,” said Tom Canfield, administrator of operations for Twin Cities Salvation Army.

Read the full story.

Member Spotlight: University of Texas at Austin

For this month’s Membership Spotlight, we’re going to take a closer look at one of our most accomplished and innovative members—The University of Texas at Austin (Longhorns).  The Longhorns have not only led the way in advancing the sports greening movement in the collegiate sector but have shed light on some new ways to engage stakeholders, students, and sports not traditionally mentioned in the greater sport and sustainability landscape.

2017 was a great year for the Longhorns as they made huge strides in their zero waste program, leading the charge in sustainability around baseball and softball. After successfully achieving zero waste during a “Zero Waste Weekend” series at both sports since 2014, the Longhorns successfully achieved an entire zero waste baseball season at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Lauren Lichterman, Operations and Sustainability Coordinator for Texas Athletics, explained how baseball and softball were a natural fit for sustainability programming and “a great start for best practice development.”

Lauren Lichterman & Bevo the Longhorn

Lauren Lichterman & Hook ‘Em the Longhorn

“Our baseball stadium has a capacity of 7,000 which is comparatively more manageable from a waste standpoint than our 102,000-person football facility,” Lichterman says. “We have the same concessionaire at both facilities and they have done a fantastic job over the years of switching their products to adhere to our zero waste standards. Being able to control the waste stream in this way is crucial to being able to achieve zero waste at any of our facilities.”

Of course, these successes don’t happen overnight, and while programs should strive for zero-waste seasons, patience is important.  It took three years to achieve a zero-waste baseball season according to Lichterman. “We spent three years tweaking the system not only from season-to-season, but also from game-to-game. We worked with all stakeholders from fans to staff to sponsors to operational partners to take advantage of every opportunity to improve.” Creating success stories in sports like baseball and softball can build a proof of concept to legitimize your work, recruit sponsors, and have a functional model for approaching bigger sports like football.

They continued their success in zero waste at Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium during the 2017 football season.  Before the football season began, the school’s sustainability team set out a few goals in their quest achieve zero waste:

  • Figure out a system to sort waste on-site during the game
  • Increase the number of volunteers to help educate fans and sort the waste
  • Create a food recovery program to donate unused food from gameday
  • Develop a communications plan to share our sustainability story

While these weren’t their only goals, putting forth a strategic plan is a wonderful way to organize your stakeholder network around actionable objectives that can help track, measure, and guide your future sustainability efforts.

Their efforts were a smashing success, and they achieved many of their initial objectives, including:

  • Recruiting almost 700 people to donate 2,700 volunteer hours over the course of the season
  • Donating over 3,000 meals to Central Texas families in need through their food recovery program
  • Decreasing landfill waste by over 200,000 pounds
  • Developing a unique social media presence through @TxSportsSustain (twitter) and @bleedorangelivegreen (Instagram).

The Longhorns also increased their overall diversion to about 50%, which is no small feat for a stadium holding over 100,000 fans on any given gameday. They plan to continue their ambitious path towards zero was by targeting a 70% diversion rate next season.

Sustainability Squad at The University of Texas at Austin

Sustainability Squad at The University of Texas at Austin

2018 is sure to be another exciting year for the Longhorns, with ample plans to further expand their sport and sustainability success. Lichterman has taken us behind the curtain about what we may expect in the future, including “creating water and energy conservation programs which aim to close the loop in some of their current operations.”

We’re all thrilled to see these projects develop and support the Longhorns in their pursuit of Zero Waste and achieving other sustainability objectives.

To learn more about their efforts and how to get involved visit:

Videoboard image at a University of Texas at Austin football game during the 2017 season.

Videoboard image at a University of Texas at Austin football game during the 2017 season.

SPORTS MEMBERS INCLUDE...
403
TOTAL SPORTS MEMBERS
193
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194
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16
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