University of Colorado Scores Big with Zero-Waste Goals

Dec. 21, 2016

Football stadium bolsters waste reduction.

The grass isn’t the only thing that is green at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field. The university has made efforts to make the home grounds of the Colorado Buffaloes more efficient and environmentally friendly both inside and immediately outside of the stadium.

Nearly all of the food and drinks sold in the stadium have refillable, recyclable or compostable packaging, contributing to widespread zero-waste efforts.       

Additionally, the tailgating experience on the grounds near the field has become more sustainable, as fans can rent special tents with furniture, coolers and compostable tailgate supplies. These designated areas have become incredibly popular on game day.

“This is a perfect example of how easy it can be for fan experience and sustainability to coexist,” says Sarah Martinez, Sustainability Maven for Eco-Products, the company that helped facilitate the university’s efforts. “This is about as green as tailgating can get.”

Inside the stadium, fans can also find “Zero Waste Goalies” wearing green shirts and guiding them to the right compostable or recyclable bins.

“Even at CU, we still see some blank stares when people walk up to the bin stations,” explains Martinez. “But we make it as easy for fans, and they’re always happy to learn that their trash is not headed to the landfill.”

Named for the school’s mascot, these efforts are all part of Ralphie’s Green Stampede, the NCAA’s first sports sustainability program. The initiative has increased recycling to the tune of 90% during football games at Folsom Field.

“Fans have good reason to be proud of the University of Colorado’s commitment to the environment,” says Rick George, CU’s Athletic Director. “Ralphie’s Green Stampede has been a huge success, keeping tons of garbage out of area landfills. This new approach to zero-waste tailgating builds on our momentum and represents the next step in our sustainability journey.”

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