SPEARFISH — During last weekend’s final home basketball game for the Yellow Jackets, Black Hills State University faculty, staff, students and community members participated in their own competition — recycling.
BHSU is one of several universities across North America participating in Recyclemania, a competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. BHSU chose Saturday’s game against University of Colorado — Colorado Springs, also Throwback Night, to work to recycle and divert the most waste from the landfill as possible. Each university can choose their own event in the one-day Recyclemania Game Day portion of the competition.
“From one day’s game, we collected 325 pounds of total waste from the lobby, fan seating area, VIP section, bathrooms, laundry room, and concessions, “ said Katie Greer, BHSU sustainability coordinator. “Of that, we were able to divert 252 pounds or 77.5 percent of that waste from going to the landfill.”
The waste collected included: 133 pounds of plastics and aluminum bottles; 31 pounds of cardboard; 54 pounds of other plastics included empty laundry soap containers; and 34 pounds of food and paper. Of the 325 pounds of waste collected, 73 pounds of non-recyclable materials including diapers, candy wrappers, gum, wax paper cups and Styrofoam had to be thrown away.
Greer said BHSU will not know how they did against the other universities until sometime later next month since all institutions choose a different date for the game they choose for the competition.
BHSU students Samantha Starkey, exercise science major from Lusk, Wyo., and Brady Licht, English education major from Rapid City, guided people with trash collection and then sorted and weighed the waste at the end of the two games. BHSU graduate Markus Heinrich, who started his company Cans 2 Cans Recycling while a student, brought four of his can crushers to the game. Coca Cola also donated signs for the event that will be recycled for future years.
“Athletics used this opportunity to utilize old T-shirts they had left over in storage. They tie-dyed them in purple and gold (BHSU’s old colors) which gave a cohesive look for Throwback Night,” Greer said noting that the recent recycling event is another great example of the collaboration on the university’s sustainability efforts.
The waste was processed Sunday with the university’s Somat machine, a system that takes leftover food and dehydrates, compacts, sterilizes the food so that it can be used for mulch. “Dining Services does this every day with food waste left on plates at the Hive, the BHSU dining area.
This is the first year BHSU has participated in Recyclemania, but Greer hopes it will be an annual way to motivate students, faculty and staff to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste generation.
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