ESA to host zero waste tailgate Saturday

This weekend, the Environmental Student Assembly aims to host a tailgate with zero leftover waste for the first time ever.

The tailgate will be set up on the Social Sciences building lawn near McCarthy Quad.

The event will take place before the Homecoming game against Colorado.

Red to green · Red Solo cups litter the ground at a tailgate for the Washington State game last year. ESA aims to reduce such waste. - Ralf Cheung | Daily Trojan

Red to green · Red Solo cups litter the ground at a tailgate for the Washington State game last year. ESA aims to reduce such waste. – Ralf Cheung | Daily Trojan

Shawn Rhoads, director of the Environmental Student Assembly, said that the event is to promote the Zero Waste Certification program that is part of the Office of Sustainability.

“A number of organizations, departments or people that want to make their tailgate zero waste certified go through the Office of Sustainability, and we want to show people that this is a thing,” Rhoads said.

The Office of Sustainability’s program, Tailgate Waste Diversion, was launched in fall 2012 and aims to teach tailgaters ways to make their pre-game activities more sustainable.

Rhoads said that at an event that is certified, there is zero waste — everything is recycled or composted, and there are no single-use items.

“It’s very similar to ESA’s certification program, and when we created that program, we used a couple of things that the Tailgate Waste Diversion program addresses,” he said. “We want students to have the option to be sustainable.”

The ESA tailgate will allow students to have the option to recycle their plastic Solo cups. Students can collect Solo cups from their tailgates and hand them over to volunteers at the ESA tailgate in exchange for free game day-related items. There will be different tiers of prizes, each corresponding to a number of cups recycled. The Office of Sustainability will recycle the cups following the game.

The tailgate will also include a blender bike that ESA will use to make smoothies. ESA hopes that the incentive will be enough for students who are tailgating to be environmentally aware and recycle. Kyleen Marcella, co-assistant director of ESA, said that Solo cups are the largest part of the waste generated on game days.

“It’s important to be conscious of how many Solo cups are wasted,” Marcella said. “If you’re using a Solo cup, try not to throw it away and reuse it instead. When people are planning their tailgate, they should be conscious of that.”

Marcella also stated that ESA wants the zero waste tailgate to quickly become a regular event on game days.

“Since this is ESA’s first fall semester, we’re only doing one tailgate. We want to see how successful this event will be, but eventually, yes, we want it to be a regular event.”

Arnav Garg, a sophomore majoring in computer science, was unsure if the event would be successful on a larger scale, however.

“There are so many tailgates all around campus, and I don’t think that people will be willing to walk over to the ESA tailgate with their Solo cup stacks,” Garg said. “When you’re tailgating and having fun, you’re not really inclined to make the effort.”

Others were more optimistic. Sandy Nguyen, a junior majoring in business administration, thought it was a great plan.

“I definitely think it’s a good idea because it would reduce the waste left behind after all the tailgating, and obviously it’s helping the environment,” she said. “If they get the word out more, and people know more about it, it will be more successful.”