Bears are No. 1 (again) in national game-day recycling contest

In what could be termed a “three-peat,” the Berkeley campus has successfully defended its title in Recyclemania, the national collegiate basketball game waste-diversion competition. In its third consecutive win of the game-day challenge, Berkeley achieved its best showing yet, with 96 percent of waste being diverted from landfill.

two students with recycling signs

Cal Dance Team members Katie Russell, left, and Anne Flannigan promote the recycling message on game day.

Cal’s entry into the competition took place at the Golden Bears’ final home men’s basketball game against Oregon State, where Cal also dominated on the court, winning 73-56.

Campus Recycling and Refuse Services led the campus effort, with weeks of strategizing and planning for the national contest involving 394 colleges and universities. The CRRS team worked with Cal Dining to ensure zero-waste packaging and to provide appropriate bins during the game. Nearly all utensils and food containers sold in Haas Pavilion were compostable or recyclable. And student volunteers were stationed throughout the halls for “trash talking” with fans, to ensure that waste was sorted into appropriate bins.

Before the game, Student Projects Redefining Our University’s Trash (SPROUTS) hosted an outreach table outside Haas Pavilion, along with promoting a social-media contest. During a time-out in the first half, a video promoting the Recyclemania challenge was played, followed by a trash-sorting game in the second half.

The 2015 Recyclemania competition ran Feb. 1 through March 28; participating institutions could choose any home game during this time period to compete in the competition. Winners were announced April 13, after all the recycling numbers were verified.

UC Berkeley not only beat all its rivals in the game-day diversion competition, but topped its own diversion rate from last year, jumping from a 93 percent rate in 2014. Second place went to George Mason University, at 90 percent. (Stanford came in last, with a 5.6 percent diversion rate.)

For complete competition results, see the Recylemania website.