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ZW010 Tailgate Recycling - Submitted

Posted by Sarthak Prasad on March 24, 2023

The Zero Waste iCAP Team submitted the attached ZW010 Tailgate Recycling recommendation to the iWG on 3/24/2023. The recommendation states:

The Zero Waste Team recommends that Facilities & Services (F&S) and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) work with the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) to implement a recycling program at tailgate events during the 2023 football season and beyond.

The following would require F&S to provide blue bags, which Athletics will distribute to tailgate participants when they are checking in by car. These bags will contain paper instructions stapled onto each blue bag. The attached paper will convey what recyclable materials can be placed in the blue bag, and will include a map with locations of “collection hubs” (location at which a F&S recycling pan is placed) – at Lot 31 and Lot 32 – so tailgaters know where to bring their filled blue bags. In addition, F&S and iSEE will work together to solicit volunteer support for the tailgate events. Volunteers will be spread across the tailgating lots to distribute more blue bags as needed and offer educational support to fans as questions about trash and recycling arise.

Following the end of the tailgating event, volunteers will assist with clean up (recyclables collection) from the Grange Grove field. The volunteers will work with DIA to ensure that F&S receives the recyclables from this clean-up session, prior to DIA’s sweep.

Additionally, the Zero Waste Team requests 1-2 iSEE tents to establish a visible presence at each “collection hub.” It is recommended that 2 volunteers will be manning each tent, where they will be collecting filled blue bags from fans, handing out more blue bags, and incentivizing/rewarding participants with free merchandise (as available).

F&S, iSEE, and DIA will communicate with Illini Union/the Bookstore regarding opportunities for partnership. Additionally, the F&S Zero Waste Coordinator (ZWC) will communicate with campus’ Coca-Cola Representative, Jake Slager, about allocating the mutual sustainability funds for tailgating merchandise. The ZWC will also work with the DIA marketing team to ensure that fans attending the game (season ticket and single ticket holders) are aware of the tailgate recycling activities happening, through their communications strategy.

Following the football event, the Zero Waste Team recommends that DIA facilitate a survey opportunity for fans, with input regarding what questions are asked from F&S and iSEE. During the November 14th, 2022 inaugural Fighting Illini, Fighting Waste basketball event, DIA surveyed fans with the following questions:

  1. “Did you notice that this [basketball] game was a recycling-focused event?” YES / NO
  2. “Did you recycle your bottles and/or cans at the [basketball] game?” YES / NO
  3. “Do you support having more emphasis on recycling in future [basketball] games?” YES / NO

It is recommended that a similar approach is taken for tailgate recycling. Allowing fans to voice their feedback is crucial for DIA, iSEE, and F&S to improve on fan experience for future events.

After the football game, volunteers will work with DIA to sweep the stadium for leftover recyclables.

Suggested unit/department to address implementation: Facilities & Services, the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics