Boiler Tailgate Team Recycling
(ALCOA Foundation Grant)
At Purdue, we combine our sports fever with our mania for recycling. Through a generous $120,000 grant from the ALCOA Foundation in 2012, titled “Action to Accelerate Recycling,” the Office of University Sustainability (OUS) has launched an ambitious football tailgate recycling program.
The Purdue Boilermakers football program, part of the Big Ten Conference, generates home game attendance of more than 200,000 loyal fans. Given that participation level, Tailgate Team Recycling has some great potential. During the inaugural 2012 session, the OUS collected total mixed recyclable material weighing 3,500 pounds, with an average diversion rate of 16.7%. We went from a low of 5.3% diversion rate at the first game to a high of 18.3% diversion rate for the last game of the season.
Overall, we learned quite a bit from this season, and hope to take the lessons learned to implement new practices and further improve in future years. We expect to change the recycling culture in the tailgating areas by providing better recycling infrastructure, engaging volunteers as ambassadors of the program, and marketing these efforts within the tailgating areas and stadium, on Purdue Sports Network Radio, and on the Purdue Athletics website.
Whether you are student, staff, faculty, alumni, or community member, we need your help to clean up tailgating! Volunteer engagement is a critical aspect of this initiative. We have encouraged volunteers from on-campus student groups, like Boiler Green Initiative, through incentives such as a T-shirt and meal for each volunteer. In addition, we hold an essay contest for two $1,000 scholarships at the conclusion of the season with the topic of how to improve our tailgate recycling program.
Interested in having fun and helping out? Sign up here to volunteer.