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ASU powers up with Green Sports Alliance

The Pac-12 Conference announced June 29 that it has officially joined the Green Sports Alliance, and is the first collegiate sports conference to count all its members as GSA participants.
Photo by: Thomas Perez/Arizona State University

June 26, 2015

The maroon and gold will be adding an honorary green stripe to its school colors in a show of sustainable solidarity.

The Pac-12 Conference has announced that it has officially joined the Green Sports Alliance (GSA), making it the first collegiate sports conference to count all its members – including Arizona State University – as GSA participants.

As members of the GSA, the conference and university athletics programs have committed to measure their environmental performance, develop strategies and goals to reduce their footprint, monitor progress and engage fans and community in the process. Most significantly, the Pac-12 and its members will support one another, and additional GSA members, in their sports greening efforts.

ASU’s Recycle and Solid Waste Manager Alana Levine said the partnership is significant and will help the university achieve its ultimate goal of zero-waste status.

“The alliance creates a platform for every university in the Pac-12 to share information with each other, which we can apply here at ASU,” Levine said. “Joining the alliance means we can also put our competitive natures to use and create opportunities to challenge each other.”

The zero waste principle aims for the diversion and aversion of more than 90 percent of trash away from the landfill. Diversion techniques include blue bin recycling, green bin composting and reusing or repurposing; and the avoidance of non-recyclable and non-compostable materials.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, an average American generates 4.38 pounds of trash every day, of which 1.51 pounds is recyclable and compostable.  In 2013, Americans recovered over 64.7 million tons of waste through recycling, and over 22 tons through composting.

From zero-waste stadiums, to solar powered arenas, to robust-student and faculty-led initiatives, ASU and the Pac-12 are genuine leaders in college sports greening. Spurred by their common membership in the GSA, Pac-12 universities also recently completed the inaugural Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge where rivals competed in athletic events for men’s basketball, women’s basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, soccer, softball and baseball.

Sporting events at ASU have specifically been targeted as a place to educate students and the community on how to become more sustainable. More than 51,000 people were in attendance at last year’s Game Day Recycling Challenge, when the Sun Devils took on Washington State in the final home football game of the season. That day more than 67,000 pounds of waste was collected at Sun Devil Stadium with almost 52,000 pounds of it being recycled.

“It’s very rare to find a red trash receptacle at any of our sporting events,” said Peter Wozniak, manager of ASU’s athletic facilities. “We really do try and lead by example.” Wozniak added that in addition to using LED lighting and providing recycle bins at their sports facilities, ASU purchases sustainable cleaning supplies and encourages food suppliers to use recyclable products.

“We still have a long way to go where we need to be, but we’ve also come a long way from when we first started.”

Since launching nationally in March of 2011, the Green Sports Alliance has grown from six teams from six leagues to nearly 300 teams, venues and university from 20 leagues in 14 countries. Currently, 30 NCAA affiliated universities are members of the alliance.