Sustain Mizzou keeps tailgating green

Student volunteers handed out recycling bags to MU fans and collected waste.

Saturday signified the start of tailgate season as students, families, alumni and friends flooded campus for the first home game of the year. Among the crowds of fans enjoying barbecue and beverages were members of Sustain Mizzou. But instead of tossing them back, Sustain Mizzou focused on tossing them out.

Tiger Tailgate Recycling has been one of Sustain Mizzou's projects for five years. During this time, they have collected over 80 tons of beverage containers. Each MU home game, student volunteers form into teams and visit tailgating sites throughout campus in order to encourage recycling.

The Jungle student tailgate, sponsored by the Missouri Students Association, took care of their own recycling, so Sustain Mizzou focused on other areas on or near campus.

"If people are tailgating, we'll be there," Sustain Mizzou President Tina Casagrand said.

There were two shifts of volunteers. The first shift handed out recycling bags to the tailgaters and the second checked the recycling bins and switched out the full bags.

Casagrand said, in general, everyone does a fairly good job of recycling during tailgating.

"I don't think that anyone is really morally against recycling, they're just lazy," sophomore Andrew Wendt said. "That's why this is great, because it doesn't take any extra effort. They give you all you need."

Many tailgaters brought their own recycling bags. One man took his bottles out of the trash and put them into his recycling bag once it was provided to him.

Junior Daniel Wedemeyer, a first time Tiger Tailgate Recycling volunteer, said he would participate in the recycling event at next weekend's game.

"I like helping people make good decisions, otherwise they wouldn't think of it," Wedemeyer said. "A lot of people think it's a lot of work."

Aluminum, glass and number one and two plastic can be thrown into one bag, meaning tailgaters don't have to sort their recyclables. Larger cities have the ability to recycle more varieties of plastic, but Columbia is limited to varieties one and two.

"The volume of recyclables is not high enough," said Monica Everett, Sustain Mizzou Vice President of Programming. "It's not cost effective to do it here."

This is the first year without a third shift of Sustain Mizzou members picking up the recycling bags. The third shift was always the least popular because members would either have to stay late after the game or come early the next morning to pick up the recyclables, Project Manager Maggie Holleman said. Campus Facilities now takes care of it, as they are picking up the trash.

"It was kind of a pain, now there's no reason not to come (participate in Tiger Tailgate Recycling)," she said. "The program is getting institutionalized more."

Holleman said this institutionalization is one of the club's pursuits.

Like many other Sustain Mizzou members, Tiger Tailgate Recycling was the first event Holleman participated in.

"It's a good event for people to come hang out and get involved," she said.

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