Duke football fans cheer, recycle in high numbers

Facilities Management staff placed extra recycling bins throughout tailgate areas to encourage sustainability.
October 29, 2010

Duke football may have lost to the University of Miami Oct. 16, but fans still came away as winners.

Taking part in the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Game Day Challenge” recycling competition, Duke collected more than 2,800 pounds of recyclable paper, bottles, cans and cardboard. That amount easily surpassed all previous home games of recent memory, said Arwen Buchholz, Duke’s recycling and waste reduction coordinator .

The Game Day Challenge  is a friendly competition that pits about 90 c olleges and universities against each other to promote waste reduction at one home football game of their choosing in October. In addition to promoting an increase in recycling, the monetary value of all the recyclables collected will be donated to the Duke Children’s Hospital and Health Center  as part of the “Recycle for the Children ” program.

“Without everyone working together – all our volunteers and the fans – our success wouldn’t have been possible,” Buchholz said. “We’re really proud that so many people came together for a good cause.”

With 25,911  fans in attendance at Wallace Wade on Oct. 16, the 2,887  pounds of recycling collected at the Duke-Miami game amounted to .11  pounds per person, more than four times  the game day average from the 2009 football season. In last year’s Game Day Challenge competition, that would’ve placed Duke fourth  out of all schools participating.

To achieve its high amount of recycling, game day staff was more vigilant about what they put into recycling bins and encouraged fans to follow suit, Buchholz said. Facilities Management and Duke Concessions staff also helped sort waste and recyclables. Along with volunteers from Athletics and students from Duke’s Environmental Alliance and Crazies Who Care and Durham’s North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.
This year’s Game Day Challenge winners in the recycling competition won’t be announced until sometime in November. Duke is one of 10  ACC schools participating, including University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. No actual awards are given to schools that prove to be the most sustainable; just bragging rights.