Due to the efforts of the University of Wyoming Department of Athletics and the Campus Sustainability Committee, volunteers at the UW men’s basketball game against New Mexico on Feb. 25 saved 266 pounds of waste from going to the landfill.

According to a UW news release, 659 pounds of waste were collected in total that night. 35 volunteers, dubbed the “trash-talkers,” sorted through the waste to separate out recyclables, resulting in the 40 percent diversion rate.

The “waste-less” athletic event was the launch of the Conservation Cowboys initiative, which seeks to reduce waste and resource use at sports events and facilities.

Eight student organizations and four operational and academic units made up most of the volunteers at the event. The Sustainability Club, the Student Dietetics Association, ACRES Student Farm and the Energy Resources Club provided the most student volunteers. A grant provided by Rocky Mountain Power provided stipends to each participating group.

“The game is just the latest demonstration of student enthusiasm for waste reduction efforts across the UW campus since the Sustainability Club and Sustainability Coalition piloted zero-waste event guidelines at the 2016 Shepard Symposium,” said Meghann Cranford, Campus Sustainability Committee student communications intern, in a statement. “Student group collaboration will be essential for the ongoing Conservation Cowboys effort.”

The pilot game helped the Campus Sustainability Committee to determine areas for improvement in the future, including volunteer placement; the need for permanent and uniform recycling bins and signs; and the exploration of large-scale composting to allow diversion of food waste and concessions to-go items from the landfill.


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