CU football’s new zero-waste policy goes into effect
Returning to Folsom Field on Saturday for the first time since last November, Buff fans were treated to many of the sights and sounds they’d grown accustomed to.
However, they were also introduced to a new, unusual sight – recycle and compost bins manned by eager volunteers, scattered around the entrances to the stadium.
These bins are being implemented by Ralphie’s Green Stampede, CU-Boulder’s effort to turn Folsom Field green.
“Our goal is to be the first major sports stadium in the nation to collect all materials in recycling or compost containers,” said Anna Taugher, a volunteer for Ralphie’s Green Stampede.
Achieving that goal would mean eliminating waste and cutting carbon emissions in order to reach a zero-waste facility.
Jacob Golding, director of sustainability, said the goal of the program was to “reduce, recycle or compost 90 percent of the waste generated at Folsom Field this year.”
Educating and alerting the fans at Folsom on how to dispose of waste properly is a key ingredient in achieving that goal.
“The volunteers at each station have been talking about zero-waste and what the entire campus has been doing, not just Folsom,” Golding said. “We’ve also gone up to the suites and told them about the changes this year and how they can help.”
Volunteers for the program said fans only need to make a small effort to contribute to the cause.
“Our main job here is really just to educate people as to what goes where,” said Allison Hart, a Ralphie’s Green Stampede volunteer. “It’s really just a learning thing and being the first year, people can get a little confused or just apathetic about the whole process. They want to just toss their waste in the trash, but it really does make a difference recycling and composting.”
Many students and fans seemed ready and eager to get into the act as well.
“I’ve always wondered why these features weren’t available at CU games before, especially with how forward thinking and green the rest of the university is,” junior business major Collin Mitchell said. “After I saw the bins outside entering the stadium, I picked up three bottles on my way out and put them in the recycling.”
Thomas Lightbody, a member of the ROTC, which is responsible for post-game clean up, said he also hoped that the movement would take hold and students would participate.
“Last year, it took us anywhere between two and three hours to clean up the entire stadium with around 170 people, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much uneaten or half-eaten food we’d come across that we’d just have to throw away,” Lightbody said. “Hopefully, the composting will be used to full effect and it’ll save us some time as well.”
CU’s dream of zero waste is quickly becoming a reality with these new actions, and according to Ralphie’s Green Stampede, soon it will be possible to invest in local-carbon-reduction projects to match the energy used to power the stadium, for team travel and other use.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Connor Fleming at Connor.Fleming@colorado.edu.