18:00 PM

Ohio State earns the 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 & Sustainability administrator, 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."

About The Ohio State University
Founded in 1870, The Ohio State University is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 63,000 students (including 56,000 in Columbus), a major medical center, 14 colleges, 80 centers, and 175 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences and the professions.

About the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission awarded the Southeastern Correctional Institution (SCI) with the Green Collaborative Achievement Award for its collaboration between staff, inmates, and partners to divert 336 tons of waste from the landfill every year. Sgt. Dan Kinsel, who manages SCI’s Recycling Center, recently received the Governor’s Award for Employee Excellence for his exemplary work establishing the facility’s waste management system.

About the Vera Institute of Justice
The Vera Institute of Justice is a national, independent nonprofit that combines expertise in research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance to help leaders in government and civil society improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety. Vera’s Ohio Green Prison Project designs and implements green vocational training and reentry programs that benefit incarcerated individuals and reduce the environmental impact and operating costs of prison systems.

About Zero Waste at Ohio Stadium
Zero Waste refers to diverting 90 percent or more of materials from the landfill by recycling and composting. Items such as food, napkins, paper products and pizza boxes are all diverted from landfills to be composted. After six months to a year, the compost from Ohio Stadium is ready to be applied to soil. In 2012, Ohio State used some of the compost in the planters around the stadium and athletic fields. Items such as plastic, aluminum cans, cardboard and anything else that is not compostable is recycled, significantly reducing the amount of trash that goes to the landfill. Through this innovative program, which is in its second season and is supported by the President and Provost’s Council on Sustainability, Ohio State is setting a new standard for collegiate stadium recycling. Ohio Stadium is now the largest stadium in the country to achieve zero waste. Website: http://go.osu.edu/zerowaste.

Program partners include: Ohio State’s Facilities Operations and Development (FOD) Energy Services and Sustainability Office as well as FOD’s Solid Waste Shop, Ohio State’s Office of Energy and Environment, Ohio State’s Department of Athletics, Sodexo, PSI (formerly ProTeam Solutions), Rumpke, Price Farms Organics, LTD, D&D Cleaning, Alpha Tau Zeta Chapter of FarmHouse International Fraternity, ROTC, the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, Vera Institute of Justice’s Ohio Green Prison Project, and ODRC, including the Southeastern Correctional Institution.