Cindy Bither
Administrative Assistant
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Lexington, VA 24450

VMI Football Spectators Challenged to Recycle

FullTextImage/img/@altCadets hand out bags for recycling at last year's Game Day Challenge. --VMI File Photo by John Robertson IV.

LEXINGTON, Va., Nov. 14, 2012 – At VMI’s home football game this Saturday, attempting to defeat the visiting Flames from Liberty University won’t be the Institute’s only challenge. For the second year in a row, VMI is participating in the Game Day Challenge, a friendly competition among colleges and universities designed to reduce the amount of trash generated at football games.

The slogan of the Game Day Challenge is “Greening the Gridiron – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle at Tailgating Events!”

The Game Day Challenge, which began with a pilot program in 2010, is a partnership of the College and University Recycling Coalition, RecycleMania, and Keep America Beautiful. The Challenge is supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waste Wise Coalition.

To participate in the challenge, each school selects a home football game and encourages as much recycling as possible that day. The recyclables are then collected and weighed. Schools are ranked in up to five categories – waste generation, diversion rate, greenhouse gas reduction, recycling, and organics reduction. To make the competition fairer, game attendance is taken into consideration when factoring in each school’s scores.

Last year, VMI achieved a 36 percent diversion rate, meaning that over one-third of the trash generated from the football game was diverted from the landfill.

This year, VMI will be participating in the organics reduction, or composting, category for the first time, said Maj. Jenny deHart, sustainability coordinator at VMI. The Institute has partnered with Crozet-based Black Bear Composting in order to compete in the composting category.

“We want people to bring things that are first, reusable; second would be compostable; and third would be recyclable,” said deHart.

DeHart explained that some paper plates and bowls are compostable or recyclable, while others are not. Paper plates with a waxy coating cannot be either composted or recycled.

During tailgating, cadet members of VMI’s Recycling Club will offer bags for both recycling and composting. Those returning the bags to the Recycling Club tent will be offered a prize. Collection efforts will take place both on the Parade Ground and in the Keydet Club tailgating area behind Foster Stadium.

As of Oct. 30, 76 schools from across the country, including VMI, had signed up to participate in the 2012 Game Day Challenge. The only other participating Virginia schools were the University of Richmond and the University of Virginia.

The 2011 challenge resulted in the diversion of nearly 500,000 pounds of trash, which kept more than 810 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.

For more information about the Game Day Challenge, visit