CU First Bowl Championship Series School In Nation To Launch Zero-Waste Program For Football Games

Published: Aug. 5, 2008

In an aggressive effort to recycle, eliminate waste and cut even more carbon emissions, the University of Colorado at Boulder today announced the "Ralphie's Green Stampede" zero-waste and carbon-reduction program at Folsom Field.

The goal is to move toward zero-waste at Folsom Field during the football season and invest in local carbon-reduction projects to match energy used to power the stadium, for team travel and other football-related energy use, said school officials. Officials anticipate recycling or composting at least 90 percent of the waste generated at Folsom Field this year.

According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency information and other sources, Folsom Field will become the first major sports stadium in the nation, professional or collegiate, to collect all materials in recycling or compost containers, eliminate trash cans and transform its materials collections systems into a zero-waste process.

"We are excited to be national leaders in this key sustainability effort," said CU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Mike Bohn. "Our goal is not simply to be good, or even excellent, but to consistently set the national standard in all that we do. With this initiative, we're really setting a global standard while doing what's right for our fans, our campus community and, at the same time, contributing to our institution's zero-waste vision for the future."

"I want to applaud everyone on this campus for their vision and leadership in getting this program off the ground," said Dave Newport, director of CU's Environmental Center. "With this measure, CU Athletics is taking a bold step, in sync with its student, faculty and campus leadership, toward keeping CU at the vanguard of sustainability leaders, where it has been for nearly 40 years."

To help match the energy used in the stadium and for travel, Bohn said CU would invest in local carbon reduction offsets from the Colorado Carbon Fund, a program of the Governor's Energy Office, as well as through renewable energy credits with the help of Broomfield, Colo.-based White Wave Foods, a partner in the zero-waste program.

"This new initiative underscores CU-Boulder's comprehensive, campuswide commitment to sustainability," said CU-Boulder Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson. "I applaud our combined student and athletic department leadership for their vision and for working together so boldly and imaginatively."

As part of the zero-waste effort, Newport said food service contractor Centerplate Inc. will convert nearly all food and beverage containers in Folsom to recyclable or compostable materials. Materials that can't be converted this year, such as candy wrappers, will be separated from recyclable and compostable waste. And, he added, to encourage people to ride bikes to the stadium, a special valet bike parking and storage facility will be available on Franklin Field.

For nearly four decades, CU-Boulder students have been in the forefront of recycling and climate action.

o In 1970, the student-led Environmental Center was established on Earth Day, six months before the U.S. EPA was founded.

o In 1976, students created the first recycling program on a college campus.

o In 2000, students set another national precedent by voting to purchase renewable wind-energy credits to match power used in new buildings that meet stringent Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, green standards for sustainable architecture. CU has four buildings that are LEED-certified.

o And on Jan. 31 of this year, Chancellor Peterson announced that the university would become the first customer of Gov. Ritter's new Colorado Carbon Fund, channeling students' wind-energy funding into local carbon-reduction projects that help Colorado communities fight climate change while enhancing economic development opportunities.

"CU students can take a great deal of pride in this new initiative," said Victoria Garcia, tri-executive of the University of Colorado Student Union, or UCSU. "Through this new initiative, I hope the University of Colorado becomes a model institution for other schools to follow. This exciting new initiative was the result of great leadership and a partnership between athletics and UCSU's Environmental Center. It's an amazing testimony to CU-Boulder's values and vision at every level."