After we get through drinking our water bottles and cokes at the tailgating most go to throw it away and not think anything of it. According to Auburn’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Department we should think again.
“Game day produces an inordinate amount of trash and we do our best to collect what we can by placing over 300 recycling bins and distributing recycling bags to tailgaters, but when compared with the amount of waste generated, the recycling diversion rate is less than 8%.” Says Leigh Jacobson, the Recycling Coordinator for Auburn’s Recycling Department.
For example, more than 24 tons of recycling was generated during the 2011 football season making an average of 3.5 tons per game. (This includes cardboard, bottles and cans in tailgate areas and at the stadium.) In the same year, the trash capacity was 285 tons with an average of 40 tons per game, showing that 7.88% of the trash was diverted into the recycling stream.
Jacobson states, “To improve these numbers we need fans to bring less waste to campus and recycle ALL bottles and cans on game day!”
The operational staff, recycling coordinators and student workers - 13 people total - work to better Auburn’s recycling program every game day weekend. Volunteers help hand out bags and sort the recycling.
“It’s always long days of hard work in addition to our normal weekly duties,” Jacobson says.
Volunteers are encouraged to come out every Saturday and Sunday. Game day litter and recycling bag distribution is every Saturday (time pending on kick-off) located at the recycling tailgate near the transit stop. Game day recycle sort is every Sunday from 1-3 p.m. at the Food Service Warehouse.
Jacobson says, “Our department works hard to make sure there are ample trash and recycling receptacles throughout the campus. But keeping campus clean is up to the students, faculty, staff, fans and visitors to place their trash and recycling in the correct bin.”
The average waste diversion rate is around 30%.
Auburn University Facilities Management and Sustainability Initiative was established in 2005. It officially became The Auburn University Waste Reduction and Recycling Department in 2008.