Photo by John Nakano

In its sixth year of existence, the Office of Solid Waste Management & Recycling’s (OSWMR) Game Day Recycling Program, a collective effort to make recycling convenient on home game days, surpassed its 100th ton of recycled garbage and achieved their largest collection of recyclable material in a year.

Much of the progress can be attributed to the growth of the program over the years. The recycling effort expands more and more each year.

“Every year, we have added a new element to the program. For the first year, we were small, and then we added cardboard recycling, composting, or picking up around the stadium,” said Cindy Jackson, associate director of OSWMR and founder of the Game Day Recycling Program. Every year, we’ve added something to the program to expand it.”

The recycling efforts of the program reach out to anyone attending the game, and a lot of the program’s success stems from the student volunteers who take different responsibilities during game day and encourage participants to recycle their garbage.

OSWMR staff help with distributing recycling receptacles around the stadium for collection the next day while volunteers set out to help with distributing the signature blue bags to tailgaters around the stadium for disposal of plastics, glass and aluminum.

“We depend a lot on student volunteers. We have the tailgaters who meet at the student commons and give blue bags to all of the tailgaters,” Jackson said. “The other part includes the Green Greeters that stand in front of the stadium with props to instruct visitors because we only need clean recyclable materials.”

Participation and volunteering is highly encouraged in the program in order to collect the most recyclables as possible.

Participants become eligible to be highlighted during the game as Green Tailgater of the game on the video board in Bobby Dodd stadium. OSWMR is always out paying attention to fans recycling habits looking for those fans that go above and beyond.

This is even more important given that the program barely missed the 100 ton mark at the end of last season.

“We really were so close. At the end of last season, we were just a few hundred pounds short,” said Maria Linderoth, Campus Recycling Coordinator. “We think about how we could have saved certain loads that got rejected, gotten a little more cardboard out of the stadium or collected garbage at the Greek houses. Any number of little pieces would have pushed us over.”

Many students admire Tech’s motivation to be a green campus and are surprised that such efforts are made during home game days.

“I think it’s really cool that a bunch of people keep recycling on their minds even when the game is going on,” said Samay Jhunjhunwalla, a senior year IE major. “We know that on game days people are drinking, having fun and hanging out with friend but they don’t really have the environment in mind. It’s great that there’s a group of people looking out for the environment.”

“During the first game, we are going to hit our 100 ton mark first game. It is a milestone for us, but our goal is to increase the amount of recycling and decrease the amount of waste that we have to landfill,” Jackson said. “Even though we do all of this recycling, there’s still a lot of garbage on this campus after football games that has to be land filled.”