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Ponnada: Game on for recycling

BY SRI PONNADA | SEPTEMBER 20, 2012 6:30 AM

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Game days are here. This means more fans, more food, more beer (for some of us), and, last but not least, more trash.

George McCrory, a communications specialist for the University of Iowa Office of Sustainability, said that after the Sept.15 game against UNI, cleanup volunteers at Kinnick Stadium collected around 5,380 pounds of trash.

That’s almost 2.7 tons of garbage headed for the Iowa City landfill — which only holds up to 125,000 tons of trash per year.

We can’t afford to generate this much waste at our games. We need to reduce, reuse, and recycle or we’ll be sitting in a dirty stadium when our landfill’s filled.

However, the cleanup volunteers from the Iowa Recycling Team seem to be bringing hope to this challenge. McCrory, whose office is a member of the team, said 6,020 pounds of material was recycled after last week’s game. That’s three tons of waste diverted from the landfill — a ton more than what we put in it.

Starting with the Iowa-State game, the recycling team expanded its effort to collect organic waste as well. This move has considerable effects on Iowa City’s environment.

Thirty percent of all waste we throw away in America is organic. This waste goes to landfills and breaks down to release methane, a greenhouse gas that has 21 times the global-warming potential of carbon dioxide, according to the EPA.

After last weekend’s game, 1,120 pounds of organic waste was collected, McCrory said. This waste went to the Iowa City Landfill to be turned into compost, which is available for the public to use in local gardens.

Composting has many environmental benefits. It reduces the amount of watering and synthetic fertilizers needed and repairs and improves soil health and fertility. Composting even increases drought resistance, something that our state and city desperately need.

As members of this community and as participants in its events, we have to be responsible and play our part in keeping it clean and conserving its environment. Thankfully, we have a role model in the Iowa Recycling Team. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. It’s not that hard to do.


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