Published: Feb. 8, 2019
pac-12 zero waste challenge - overall winner - CU Boulder

Thanks to hard work and dedication by Facilities Management and Ralphie's Green Stampede staff and volunteers, CU Boulder was named Overall Winner in the Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge for the 2018 football season.

From the Pac-12 press release:

SAN FRANCISCO – One of the core pillars of Pac-12 Team Green, the Conference today announced that the University of Colorado Boulder has been selected as the overall winner of the “Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge” for the 2018 football season. Also recognized as subcategory winners included the University of Arizona (most-improved), Arizona State University (best student-athlete engagement) and the University of Washington (best fan engagement). All four institutions will be recognized and honored during a special ceremony during the 2019 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference set for June 25-26 at the University of Washington.

“Sustainability is a very important key for us, something we take a great deal of pride in," said Rick George, athletic director at Colorado. "We want to be leaders in this area and we are certainly excited about being recognized in this way.”

The Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge is held annually during both football and basketball seasons. Each university selects one home football game and one home basketball game to compete and provide a platform for engaging on best practices in waste diversion. As part of the competition, each university submitted a scorecard describing the efforts around its Zero Waste game. Criteria is weighted as such: 25 percent participation and partnerships, 25 percent innovation credit and 50 percent stadium diversion rate.

A total of five judges selected one overall winner and one winner in three categories. The judging panel consisted of:

  • Bill Walton – Pac-12 representative, sustainability advocate & basketball legend

  • Mike Carey – LEED Expert & sustainability coordinator at Orange Coast College

  • Graham Oberly – Sustainability coordinator at Ohio State University

  • Cheryl Wong – Assistant commissioner, sports management & championships, Pac-12 Conference

More information on the Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge is available at  More information on the 2019 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference set for June 25-26 at the University of Washington is available at

Overall Winner – 2018 Football Season: Colorado (vs. Arizona State, Oct. 6, 2018)

  • Achieved 91.82% stadium diversion rate, including over 8,700 lbs in compost, over 3,900 lbs in bottles and cans and over 1,300 lbs to landfill.

  • The NCAA’s first Division I sustainable athletics program, “Ralphie’s Green Stampede” has seen Buffs athletics implement zero waste programs in all venues, zero net carbon emissions in all facilities, zero net water use practices in all facilities as well as a zero net-energy football practice facility.

  • In promotion of a circular economy, Colorado collects plastic bags from stadium activities and sends them to a recycler who then manufactures new 70% recycled content plastics bags, which the university then uses to collect tailgate recycling on gamedays.

  • As a zero-waste, zero-car and zero-glass organized tailgate, the “Franklin Field Tailgate” area of Colorado football games has become a platform for a high-diversion tailgate area with a zero-waste eco product package, complete with plates, napkins, cups and utensils.

Read the full story from Pac-12 Team Green