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It’s football season, and CU fans are as loyal and enthusiastic as ever. Ralphie’s Green Stampede initiative is enthusiastic too, and gaining momentum in its third year. The Green Stampede began as more of a tremble, an idea that football games could reduce the amount of waste left behind when the players and fans went home. Since it began in 2008, the stampede has expanded each year to encompass better sustainability at Folsom Field.

First, CU Recycling replaced all trash bins in the stadium with recycling bins and compost bins lined with biodegradable bags. These become “Zero Waste Stations” with Green Team “goalies” from CU Recycling, Environmental Center, and student volunteers stationed to educate fans and keep the bins from getting contaminated with the wrong products. Stadium vendors began serving compostable products such as plates, cups and utensils. Centerplate Inc., CU’s food service contractor, got on board as well.

This year the Green Stampede is better than ever, with new accomplishments fueling it on. Stadium vendors have increased their use of compostable products.

University Parking and Transportation Services have gotten involved, helping to distribute recycling bags to the tailgate parking lots on campus so that pre-game partiers too can join the Zero Waste movement. Remember, if you go tailgating before a game, bring minimal packaging for your food items and consider using compostable and recyclable containers and serving ware.

Last, a new Green Stampede coordinator position at the Environmental Center on campus has been added to help manage and coordinate the many Zero Waste elements with Athletics and Centerplate for pre, during and post game day.

“With the continued support of Athletics and Centerplate, Folsom Stadium is getting closer to its Zero Waste goal of 90 percent diversion rate during the home football games,” says Daniel Baril, Environmental Center Recycling Program manager. “To see a ‘Sustainability Coordinator’ position within Athletics in the future would help solidify this goal, along with taking Athletics to the next level of Sustainability within all of their operations.”

The Green Stampede has caught on at many campus and sporting events, and CU Recycling hopes to soon have Zero Waste fully integrated into all athletics along with compost bins throughout campus.

So at your next football game, thank the goalies stationed at each compost and recycling bin for helping make CU stand out in yet another positive way. Ours is the first major collegiate (or professional) sports program in the U.S. to make this happen, and we are certainly leading by example.

If you are a student and you’d be willing to roll up your sleeves for the cause, you can volunteer to be a goalie for the first three quarters of a game (no cleanup duties!). You’ll score a complimentary meal ticket, Green Stampede t-shirt and hat, and get free admission to the game to enjoy the remaining fourth quarter with your buddies. E-mail Alex at

For more information about Ralphie’s Green Stampede, visit

Katherine Nettles is the communications coordinator for the CU Environmental Center. She can be reached at