Folsom Field continues to set standards high nationwide, with CU’s widely successful zero-waste initiative in this year’s football season.
Nationally, Folsom Field and the Green Stampede —the program that initiated the zero-waste policy—are leaders in the eco-friendly scene when it comes to sporting events. CU’s Environmental Center and athletic department have completed yet another zero-waste season for Folsom Field, marking the third straight year that the university has successfully done so.
Over 70 percent of the waste generated by the stadium was converted into recyclable or compostable materials. Vendors like Chick-fil-A altered some of their internal operations in accordance to the zero-waste policy, changing their packaging and purchasing their products in bulk.
“These little things, with that many people and with so many games, make a big difference,” said Sarah Haynes, a program’s assistant for the Environmental Center.
Jessica Bradley, recycling and solid waste supervisor for Facilities Management at CU, said that the CU-Oregon game in October was one of the best examples of the stadium’s success. There were 11,799 pounds of recyclable and compostable materials, compared to 1,623 pounds of trash that day, which is a total conversion of 87.91 percent.
This year, sustainability efforts included the addition of efficient lighting and updating the stadium’s skyboxes with more energy efficient equipment. The Green Stampede relies heavily on volunteers, including high school groups, families, Boy Scouts and CU’s ROTC, to implement the environmentally conscious measures.
“We’re really trying to embrace [volunteers] and get them to help,” Haynes said. “They always say it was fun and a really great experience.”
Although helping separate compostables and recycling isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, these volunteers get to see the immediate difference their actions make by watching the materials get shipped away to be recycled and composted, instead of taken to a landfill.
Timothy Hreha, a graduate student studying civil engineering, has worked with the Green Stampede since last summer. He is among those responsible for sorting through recyclable materials from the stadium and the rest of campus.
“I was passionate about recycling, and it’s the perfect opportunity to learn more about the actual process,” he said.
The zero-waste success extends beyond campus by providing an example of the benefits of being eco-conscious for the rest of the state. Haynes said that sports fans, students and visitors alike are impressed by the initiative.
CU’s Coors Events Center is one of many facilities across Colorado that are attempting to become zero-waste this year, which Haynes credits to the success of Folsom Field.
“We are seeing a lot of big stadiums, as well as all of our state’s venues, learn from our sustainable efforts.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Catherine Marylander at Catherine.firstname.lastname@example.org.