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Recycling initiatives for Iowa-Iowa State game yield results

BY KELSEY L JOHNSON | SEPTEMBER 14, 2012 6:30 AM

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A mass of volunteers descended upon Kinnick Stadium last weekend. Their task was simple— recycle every piece of waste. Together, they were able to increase the percentage of recycled waste from a previously recorded 25 percent to 40 percent.

And it was only the first game of the home football season.

Roughly 4,700 pounds of recycling were collected before, during, and after Saturday’s game against Iowa State.

“We expected some sort of increase, but we did not know how much to expect,” said George McCrory, communications specialist for the University of Iowa office of sustainability.

The Daily Iowan previously reported on the three-phase recycling initiative that would begin at the first home game against Iowa State. The recycling initiative gives fans the opportunity to recycle their waste before, during, and after football games.

Members of the Iowa Recycling Team volunteer to be involved in all phases of recycling during home games.

The Iowa Recycling Team includes members of ECO Hawk, the Office of Sustainability, Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, Waste Management, ARAMARK, UI athletics, and Facilities Management, among others.

Containers for recycling had previously only stood outside of Kinnick throughout last season, but the effort was moved inside to collect organic waste from concession stands.

This was the first time organic waste was collected during a football game, and Damien Simcox, the director of UI athletics facilities, said somewhere between 5 and 6 percent of organic waste generated from concession stands was collected at these bins.

“The effort will get better and better with every game,” Simcox said. “We hope to increase that percentage every game.”

Improvements for recycling at the next home game will focus on organic waste as well as the post-game cleanup effort.

“The majority of waste is in the stands after the game,” said James Proehl, the president of Delta Tau Delta.

George McCrory agreed and said the most room for improvement lies in the stands after the game is over.

High-school volunteers, teachers, community members, and members of Delta Tau Delta fraternity were present to move the recycling effort beyond game day.

Sorting through waste, the recycling team took the initiative further and tediously made their way through the stadium on Sunday.

McCrory said the Sunday cleanup was successful, but volunteers will be better educated about recyclable materials in the future. He said many people did not know that some of the concession items were recyclable.

Proehl also made this observation, and said he hopes Delta Tau Delta will take leadership of educating volunteers about what can be recycled. The fraternity hopes to become leaders in the effort and create a legacy through the initiative.

Proehl said volunteering was surprisingly fun for the men of Delta Tau Delta. They walked around tailgates with containers and had the opportunity to interact with fans.

“The fans were wonderful,” he said. “Many stopped to say thank you, or ask questions about where to put certain items.”

Delta Tau Delta had 25 members volunteer for the event, and Proehl said that they plan to continue volunteering throughout the rest of the season.

The recycling and volunteer efforts will continue throughout the season, and the Iowa Recycling Team will work towards their goal of sustaining 60 percent of all waste generated. Beyond this, UI athletics is working towards leading the Big 10 conference in recycling efforts.

“By the third or fourth game the fans will catch on; [recycling] will hopefully become part of tailgating and going to games,” Proehl said before adding, “It’s really that simple.”


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