Zips named co-champs of 2017 GameDay Recycling Challenge


The University of Akron football team may not have captured the 2017 Mid-American Conference title this past season, but the Zips and their fans still ended the season as champions.

UA is co-champion of the 2017 GameDay Recycling Challenge (GDRC), the national collegiate football recycling competition, sharing the title with Clemson University.

UA is national champion in the Diversion category (recycling, plus organics composting and recovery as a percent of total trash) with a 93.57 percent diversion rate. The victory in the Diversion category comes after previously finishing in the top five, nationally, every year since 2013.

2017 GameDay Recycling Challenge

Here are some of the student volunteers who participated in the GameDay Recycling Challenge. They worked alongside Physical Facilities team members.

Clemson University holds the top spot in the Total Recycling category, with 98,521 pounds of material recycled, composted or donated.

“The GameDay Recycling Challenge is something my staff looks forward to participating in every year,” says Andrew Henry, UA’s director of building services, recycling, grounds, special services, parking and athletic maintenance. “We are using lessons learned during the challenge, such as the strategy used to increase composting during game day events, and applying them in other campus waste diversion initiatives.” 

Fun contest with a purpose

The GDRC pitted 70 colleges and universities in a fun and friendly competition designed to engage college football fans to see who could recycle the most and reduce the most waste. The competition reached 8.7 million fans at 181 games, based on reported stadium attendance numbers. Participating schools recycled or composted 2.06 million pounds of game-day waste during the fall season. The GDRC ranks participating schools based on the quantity of recyclables, and food organics and other materials diverted from the landfill at college football stadiums and tailgating areas.

“Congratulations to the Clemson Tigers, Akron Zips and all the schools that participated in this year’s competition,” says Brenda Pulley, senior vice president of recycling for Keep America Beautiful. “Beyond the waste recovered on game days, the full impact of these efforts comes from the fans who were encouraged to continue reducing, recycling and composting waste throughout the year.”

The GDRC is produced through a partnership of the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), Keep America Beautiful, RecycleMania, Inc., and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The complete list of national and conference winners can be seen  at Gameday Challenge 2017 results.


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