An annual Michigan State University event became an unprecedented zero-waste event in August when 9,320 pounds of recyclables were diverted during the 2012 Spartan Spectacular cookout.
"Since the beginning we have been working hard to educate participants on how to lessen waste at the event,” says Diane Barker, sustainability officer for the Residential and Hospitality Services Sustainability Office
. “The goal for the event was to continue to challenge ourselves and look for ways to reduce our waste and see how we could divert more waste then the previous year.”
More than 11,400 students attended the August 28 cookout, which had recorded between 35 and 40 percent of recyclables diverted in years past. With the help of more than 100 volunteers, the RHS Office was able to achieve a 96 percent waste diversion rate. The Zero Waste International Alliance
standard for zero waste is 90 percent or higher.
“A team of campus professionals from Residential and Hospitality Services, MSU Recycling Center, and our Anaerobic Digester Research Center worked together to lay plans and expedite a green event at Spartan Spectacular and lessen the waste,” says Barker. “The zero waste event was a result of a lot of collaboration and planning.”
An estimated 3,500 pounds of food waste collected at the event was taken to MSU’s Anaerobic Digester in the MSU Dairy Barn. According to Barker, the RHS Office plans to continue to use the Spartan Spectacular as an annual opportunity to educate students on recycling and waste diversion.