Go Jackets, Go Green

Game Day Recycling initiative moves into its second year

Coming off a busy summer, Office of Solid Waste Management and Recycling Manager Cindy Jackson is gearing up for the Institute's Game Day Recycling.

Begun last year, the recycling initiative sought to enlist the help of campus tailgaters and visitors in the stadium's suites. From the first game of the season, student volunteers on campus gave blue-colored compostable bags for fans to place all of their recyclable waste in-aluminum cans, plastic and glass. Facilities Department employees collected the bags after the games.

Recycling Services collected nearly 12 tons of material from the fans of seven home games last year. In the first game-Tech vs. Jacksonville State University-1.1 tons of waste was collected.

"While this can have a slight financial advantage, we're helping to take materials out of the waste stream, which in turn reduces landfill costs," said Jackson, who is also the director of Georgia Tech's Earth Day celebration.

With one less home game this year, the program has doubled its recycling target from last year. This year, the office seeks to collect 20 tons through six home games. With a few more volunteers and an expanded service area, Jackson says she thinks it's a workable target. "This is our second year," she said. "So many more people are aware of the program, and should hopefully be looking for it."

Although volunteers worked mostly to distribute bags to tailgaters last year, this year sees expanded opportunities.

The initiative is now recruiting "recycling ambassadors" to work at the gates helping to direct visitors to place recyclables in blue bins. Roughly 40 volunteers will be needed each game.

"We're going to reach out to student organizations and offer an 'adopt-a-game' initiative," she said. "We want to make it a tradition for students here, starting with the freshmen, to help the games go green. We're hoping people take these behaviors learned from the games and incorporate them into their daily lives."

During game days, recyclable materials do not need to be sorted. Glass, aluminum and plastic can be placed in the same bins and bags. Jackson said she hopes this can be the start of a waste-minimization effort across campus-and beyond.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.