GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Swamps are usually green.
Makes sense for the University of Florida’s famous football one to fall in line.
The 2013 Gators football season, which opens Saturday against Toledo, will mark a new phase in the “Sustainable UF” mission laid down by university president Bernie Machen in 2005.
Thanks to a partnership with WCA, the waste management company that services the City of Gainesville and Alachua County, trash from the game now has a place for composting, a key step in Machen’s goal to make UF a “zero waste” campus.
“For the fans, nothing about game day is going to change,” said Brian Barton, director of facilities for the University Athletic Association. “This is nothing other than one more positive step toward a sustainable community environment, which is good for everybody.”
Like in previous years, receptacles will be separately labeled for trash and recyclables, but it’s what will happen to the waste after the game that matters.
Bottles and souvenir cups sold in the stadium already were recyclable. Same with food wrappers, trays and boats, as well as eating utensils which were compostable. But now the UAA-contracted dump trucks that gather the waste won’t be driving to landfills, but to composting stations.
Last year, UF became the first carbon-neutral athletic department in the country, playing a fifth straight carbon-neutral calendar of events (including facilities and team travel) while also planting 18,000 trees on conservation lands in Gainesville.
“In theory, everything in the stadium is compostable,” Barton said. “The athletic association stands behind the president’s initiative and we’re doing our part to continuing moving that initiative forward.”