By Paul Ruskin, Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK – Penn State football fans and student volunteers set a new record for recycling collected after a home game: the 4,356 bags picked up after the Ohio game on Sept. 1 were nearly triple the average post-game collection of 1,500.
At every home game, STATERs (Students Taking Action To Encourage Recycling) hand out blue bags and ask tailgating guests to recycle. These bags are then collected from the 110 acres surrounding Beaver Stadium and greatly speed after game clean-up. Beaver Stadium recycling has already set a high standard for the season, and fans are challenged to do even better over the next six home games.
“Thanks to the STATERs’ efforts and great cooperation from Penn State fans, the new record demonstrates the University’s commitment to sustainability and good citizenship,” said Paul Ruskin of Penn State’s Office of Physical Plant. “This not only keeps the grounds looking spiffy, but also reduces clean-up time from days to hours — in this case, the entire post-game clean-up operation was completed in three-and-a-half hours. The STATERs proved that doing the right thing for the environment can also be labor-saving and fun.”
The personal interaction of student recyclers with fans helps to inspire more recycling and contributes to a cleaner stadium ambiance. About 50 percent of the blue bags used for recycling are taken from green-topped Dumpsters and wooden A-frame dispensers placed throughout the tailgating community in a “self-serve” mode, and the rest are personally distributed by STATERs.
The collected materials are kept out of the landfill and all the proceeds are donated to the Centre County United Way. “Our student volunteers can be justly proud of their game day accomplishments on the field of green,” said Ruskin.
The STATERs are a student-led organization whose goal is to increase awareness of campus recycling programs and provide volunteer efforts for numerous organized recycling projects. “Beaver Stadium Recycling is off to a winning season,” said Ruskin. “In fact, you might say they already have it in the bag.”