September 7, 2017
Michigan Athletics will strive for zero-waste game days at Michigan Stadium, helping to move the University of Michigan closer to reaching its campus sustainability goals.
Zero waste is the aspirational goal of diverting 90 percent of waste generated inside Michigan Stadium from the landfill through recycling and composting.
Michigan Athletics is partnering with the Office of Campus Sustainability and Sodexo, a food service management company, on the effort.
"The University of Michigan community has big ambitions for campus sustainability, and there is no bigger stage than Michigan Stadium. We are proud to extend our Zero Waste Program to all home football games," says President Mark Schlissel.
The first home game of 2017 is Saturday at noon against Cincinnati.
Michigan Athletics began a phased approach to zero waste during the 2016 season by sourcing and testing the durability of compostable products and packaging, and refining post-game cleanup operations to properly separate waste streams.
This season new bins with signage showing examples of compostable and recyclable products were added around the stadium. Fans are encouraged to place items in the correct bin to avoid contaminating the recycling and composting streams. Landfill bins are no longer available on the concourse but remain in the restrooms and back-of-house areas.
Signage and designated bins that will be used to encourage football fans to deposit their waste items as part of Michigan Stadium's zero-waste effort. (Photo by Ben Blevins, Michigan Athletics)
"Creating more sustainable operations and engagement opportunities for fans in one of the nation's largest football stadiums will not only reduce waste in our stadium but also have a cultural impact on our campus and beyond," says Rob Rademacher, executive senior associate athletic director and chief operating officer for Michigan Athletics.
Each Sunday after a home game, the stadium will be cleaned and waste separated into compost, recycling and landfill bins to be taken to their respective locations for sorting and disposal.
A zero-waste Michigan Stadium builds on the more than 20-year history of recycling game day waste and supports the campuswide sustainability effort known as Planet Blue.
The effort stems from recommendations to the president by a committee of students, faculty and staff to advance the university's progress toward its 2025 sustainability goals, specifically to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill by 40 percent below 2006 levels and to strengthen the culture of sustainability on campus.