Sept. 9, 2014 | by Jill Sakai
Last weekend’s rout of Western Illinois at Camp Randall also marked a win for UW–Madison’s waste diversion efforts.
The game was the first to test new zero-waste strategies in place at the stadium to tackle waste by recycling or composting rather than sending it to the landfill.
One of the most exciting outcomes was the successful involvement of many key players, including the 80,000 fans that flock to the stadium on game day. Staff noted good attendee compliance with sorting materials between the available recycling and composting bins.
Preliminary results indicate an improvement in plastic recycling over past years. “Last year we had lots of trash in the recycling bins. This year the recycling was very clean, almost no contamination,” says Frank Kooistra, operations coordinator for the Office of Sustainability and WE CONSERVE, who helped with the project. Total weights are still being determined.
As expected with all new big initiatives, there are some wrinkles to work out. A misunderstanding among the partnering organizations led to the introduction of some non-biodegradable food packaging into the compost stream.
“We learned a lot of lessons this week and we’ll work on ironing out some more of the details before the next home game on Sept. 20,” Kooistra says, praising the work of both staff and volunteers toward the zero-waste effort. “It’s commendable that Athletics is moving in this direction.”