Husker Nation challenged to gather most recyclables Saturday

Recyclables gathered during 2009 Recyclemania event at Memorial Stadium
Recyclables gathered during 2009 Recyclemania event at Memorial Stadium

Colleges nationwide are battling to be the one that recycles the most during a home football game. Husker Nation will compete during the Missouri game Oct. 30 and needs at least 75 volunteers to pick up recyclables after the 2:30 p.m. game.

The Game Day Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is intended to decrease the amount of waste generated at college football games by educating fans and encouraging them to increase their recycling or decrease their use of non-recyclable materials on game day; to increase participation by the community, students, faculty and staff in waste-reduction programs; and heighten awareness of local waste reduction programs.

Nebraska is one of 87 universities participating in the Game Day Challenge. Student groups Ecology Now and the Environmental Resource Center, ASUN, and the university's recycling coordinator are coordinating volunteers to pick up recyclables after the Missouri game. Anyone interested in volunteering for the event should e-mail Volunteers can meet at Gate 15 of Memorial Stadium at 6 p.m. or immediately at the game's conclusion.

As part of the competition, coordinators designed a waste reduction plan for one home football game in October and will measure the results. Schools will collect common materials for recycling including paper, beverage containers, cardboard, and food to be donated and composted. The amount of waste generated and recycled will determine which school is the "greenest."

Schools can win in several categories: least amount of waste generated per attendee; greatest greenhouse gas reductions; highest recycling rate; highest organics reduction rate (i.e., food donation and composting); and highest combined recycling and composting rate. UNL is competing in least amount of waste generated per attendee and highest recycling rate.

Winners will be publicized on EPA's website.

Fans can do their part on Oct. 30 by looking for recycling containers inside and near the stadium to sort their own waste. Volunteers have been successfully conducting recycling at the games this year for a new Go Green for Big Red effort, sharing green bags in tailgating areas and parking lots.

- Kelly Bartling