Aggie Stadium is in the process of becoming a zero-waste stadium.
In 2007, UC Davis officially opened the 10,700-seat multi-use stadium, home to the football and women's lacrosse teams. In that inaugural year, Sodexo, UC Davis R4 Recycling Program, UC Davis Solid Waste, UC Davis Athletic Department and Jepson Prairie Organics joined together to implement post-consumer composting in the stadium. It was no small project — the facility hosted more than 45,000 people in five home football games last season.
"With the clear vision to create a zero-waste atmosphere, we developed processes of purchasing, food preparation, and serving styles that would make composting an extremely easy practice for customers and employees," said Gina Rios, general manager for retail dining services for Sodexo, which supplies food and beverages to the campus, in a press release.
Educating employees and visitors to the stadium is one key to achieving successful sustainability efforts, Rios added. UC Davis already has a zero-waste policy in its dining halls.
Toward this, the campus has about 30 compostable collection points throughout Aggie Stadium. After each football game ends, staff from the athletics department recycling program collect the biodegradable bags filled with everything from ketchup smeared hot dog wrappers, unbleached napkins, and biodegradable drinking straws.
The bags are then transported to a designated post-consumer compost compactor at the Tercero dining room for pick up and delivery to Jepson Prairie Organics to complete the composting process.
According to Sodexo, the university has much to celebrate as a result of this practice — more than 2,400 pounds of organic matter will be decomposed and used to replenish local farm fields. That is an estimated 83.9 percent diversion rate of vendor- and crowd-generated waste that would have ended up in the landfill.
Tom Johnson is a Dateline writing intern.