Ohio State Earns 2012 National Diversion Rate Title

The Ohio State University was recently named the Diversion Rate Champion for the 2012 Game Day Challenge, a national stadium recycling competition. From September through November, 79 schools competed to divert the most football game day waste.

Ohio State first achieved "Zero Waste," defined as diverting 90 percent or more of materials from landfills by recycling and composting, on Oct. 20 at the Purdue game. The rate continued to climb, reaching a record 98.2 percent diversion rate Nov. 3 vs. Illinois and sustaining that level with a 97.4 percent diversion rate Nov. 24 for the Michigan game. The diversion rate from the Illinois game is one of the highest ever achieved at a sporting venue and the highest rate achieved by any collegiate venue during the Game Day Challenge.

"Ohio State is working to be a leader in sustainability, and the best place to start is at home," said Jay Kasey, senior vice president for administration and planning at The Ohio State University. "This is proof that when we work together as one university and one community, we can have an impact that goes beyond our borders."

The university was able to achieve and sustain the goal of Zero Waste in part due to its collaboration with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) and The Vera Institute of Justice. As part of a program to support green and sustainable programs at ODRC, the Southeastern Correctional Institution offered to sort the recycling gathered at the games. The partnership greatly improved Ohio State’s sorting and reporting capabilities.

"The Vera Institute of Justice's Ohio Green Prison Project and ODRC heard about Zero Waste at Ohio Stadium and realized that there might be a synergy between our programs," said Jenny Hildebrand, energy conservation and sustainability administrator for ODRC. "We were able to offer Ohio State the ability to recycle and compost more of their game day materials and provide precise records of diversion. In addition, revenue from the sale of the recyclables funds many of ODRC's other conservation initiatives and reduces our burden on the taxpayer."

Ohio State and ODRC plan to continue to develop the partnership to achieve a full season of Zero Waste for the 2013 football season and beyond, while supporting ODRC's Ohio Green Prisons project.

"Sustainability is collaborative by nature and this program is a true testament to what you can do when you have partnerships across campus and in the community," said Don Patko, associate director, facilities, Ohio State Department of Athletics. "The Zero Waste at Ohio Stadium program could not have reached this goal without the support of our partners and we truly appreciate all of their efforts."