Published: Sept. 8, 2015

Kicking off at this week’s first home football game of the season, CU Athletics this year is increasing its leadership in sports sustainability through several new programs encouraging environmentally friendly behaviors among fans.

One of the new programs involves PepsiCo, which is unveiling the “Bring Your Bottle Back to Life” campaign, which features CU-Boulder apparel made from recycled plastic fibers. During home games, dozens of CU-Boulder T-shirts made from 50 percent recycled content will be given away every time the Colorado Buffaloes score a touchdown.

Recycling efforts contribute to CU-Boulder’s overall goal of diverting 90 percent of campus waste -- such as paper and plastic bottles -- from landfills, up from a current diversion rate of about 43 percent, said Dave Newport, director of the CU Environmental Center.

“People are more inclined to recycle at games and in their daily lives if they can clearly see the results,” Newport said. “The Buffs have been leaders in recycling for decades. We appreciate Pepsi and CU Athletics helping us make vivid for football fans the connection between recycling and reuse of recycled materials.”

Another new effort this fall will reward fans who use the popular Boulder B-Cycles, their own bikes or RTD buses to get to home football games. Volunteers at the B-Cycle station located at Colorado Avenue and Folsom Street will pass out promotional buttons with instructions on how to enter drawings for a new bike and other prizes. Fans riding any of the several game-day buses to Folsom Field also will be given buttons.

“We want to reward our sustainability-minded fans and build a stronger community culture around sustainable practices,” said Rick George, CU-Boulder athletic director. “We’re asking our fans to raise their games at home, work and play.”

Fans also will have the opportunity to pledge to water conservation during basketball games at CU-Boulder via a new partnership with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation to supply “Water for the West.”  For every fan’s pledge to conserve, the CU Environmental Center and CU Athletics will support water projects along the Colorado River basin that restore 1,000 gallons of flow to the river.  CU Athletics’ goal is to balance its own water footprint by helping restore 10 million gallons to Colorado watersheds through improved irrigation systems and the removal of exotic plants that absorb water.

The award-winning Ralphie’s Green Stampede, which began as the nation’s first program of its type in 2008, has led to a 90 percent recycling rate during football games at CU-Boulder. Basketball and other varsity sports on campus also participate in the program.

The Buffs are nearing completion of the nation’s first football practice facility designed to meet LEED Platinum building standards and “net-zero” energy use. Once online, the new practice facility along with previous athletic building projects will sport about 1.2 megawatts worth of solar power panels, which is enough to power about 200 homes.

For more information visit

Dave Newport, CU Environmental Center, 303-492-8309
Elizabeth Lock, CU-Boulder media relations, 303-492-3117

A game-goer approaches a recyclables and compostables sorting station -- available in lieu of trash cans at Folsom Field through the Ralphie's Green Stampede zero-waste initiative. (University of Colorado Boulder/2012)