Cornell's Zero Landfill Game

Cornell Campus Sustainability's Dan Roth tosses t-shirts to the crowd. Photo: Cornell University Photography

Cornell's big red went green for RecycleMania with a "Zero Landfill" Game. During a Cornell-Princeton match-up, 2,600 fans recycled and composted their way to a 96% waste diversion rate. Using the game as a combined RecycleMania and Campus Conservation Nationals promo, the sustainability team encouraged fans to turn off the lights at home and go to the game. 

At the court, volunteers from the Compost and Athletic Marketing Clubs manned all the waste stations, encouraging fans to put their mateiral in the correct bin. Spring Buck said she had found that a best practice is to have compost-collecting volunteers in charge of each trash bin, so that compostables are not sent to the landfill along with chip bags and other containers. 

Pregame Partnership: Natural Resources Defense Council

Cornell also set up a pregame event with speeches from NRDC's Alice Henley and former NFL fullback Ovi Mughelli. Mughelli also joined the Campus Sustainability Office on the court at halftime, helping to promote eco-friendly behavior and give out RecycleMania and CCN t-shirts! 

Going All Out

With help from the Athletics Marketing department, the recycling and conservation themes reached the community before, during, and after the game. 

  • Sustainable giveaways: The athletics department handed out winter hats- a promo item that students would be more likely to keep than something disposable like plastic noisemakers. 
  • Athlete promotions: Basketball players promoted RecycleMania, CCN, and the special game at residence hall dining areas in advance of the game. 

Read More

The Zero Waste Game was featured in the Cornell Chronicle and an NRDC blog post, as the game was part of an NRDC-Ivy League "sports greening" partnership.