By Taylor Estes , Horns 247

Photo credit: Texas Athletics

The University of Texas wrapped up the spring semester earlier this month, and efforts made by the Longhorns’ athletics department throughout the year were recognized this week. The Green Sports Alliance, an environmentally focused organization with a focus in the field of sports, unveiled its 2019 Innovators of the Year, and the University of Texas took home a second consecutive honor for its coined ‘Bleed Orange, Live Green’ initiative as recognized by the Green Sports Alliance.

The Longhorns were named as one of the Green Sports Alliance’s 2019 Environmental Innovators of the Year, which the Green Sports Alliance gives out annually to both individuals and organizations for their “tremendous work in the sports greening movement.”

“University of Texas Athletics created a multi-year zero waste strategy for all Texas Athletic events to achieve zero waste by 2020,” Green Sports Alliance said of the Longhorns’ environmental efforts. “Throughout the six football games during the 2018 season, the university was able to achieve a best single-game diversion rate of 76 percent. They generated a total of 347 tons of waste and diverted 105.22 tons to recycling and 49.39 tons to compost. Food recovery efforts led to more than 5,300 pounds of food being donated to fight hunger in Central Texas. Throughout the 2018 program, approximately 900 volunteers donated 2,700 hours of time and their actions reached over 600,000 fans. With the 2018 season’s success, Texas Athletics is on pace to achieve a 90 percent diversion rate in 2019, one year ahead of the campus zero waste goal.”

The “Bleed Orange, Live Green” initiative is a part of the University of Texas Sustainability program, which strives to ensure the efforts made by the Longhorns on the Forty Acres are focused on reducing life cycle costs, restoring or maintaining functioning natural systems and enhancing human well-being.

The Longhorns will officially receive their well-deserved honor on June 19 at the 2019 Green Sports Celebration event in conjunction with the 2019 Green Sports Alliance Summit in Philadelphia, Pa.

According to the press release announcing the 2019 Innovators of the Year, the Green Sports Alliance “leverages the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities where people live and play. The Alliance inspires professional sports leagues, sports governing bodies, colleges, teams, venues, their partners and millions of fans to embrace renewable energy, healthy food, recycling, water efficiency, safer chemicals and other environmentally preferable practices. Alliance members now number nearly 600 organizations and fans representing 15 leagues in 14 countries.”

Texas football will have the opportunity to exceed its green efforts from the 2018 season come August 31 when the Longhorns host Louisiana Tech for the 2019 season opener.

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