Photo by Katelynn Pennington.

The Zero Waste Program, a collaborative initiative between the Sustainability Office and Recycling, was piloted at three basketball games on Jan. 11, Jan. 27 and Feb. 2 in hopes the program would expand to Halton Arena.

At each game, fans connected with staff and volunteers at an informational booth located near concessions. There were three different basketball hoops, each labeled either compost, landfill or recycling.

“We engage a lot with the smaller kids,” said University Sustainability Coordinator Tyler Sytsma. “We have these little flashcards, they pick one and try to identify whether that item goes into the compost, landfill or recycling hoop. We also ask them to keep their parents accountable and make sure they put the stuff in the right bin.”

Fans, in their best Jon Davis impression, shoot in the baskets and try to win prizes and other 49er knick knacks.

Back in 2011, the Student Government Association (SGA) voted “Zero Waste” into place for Charlotte football. This past season, 80 percent of everything discarded at the games ended up being either composted or recycled.

“We’re learning the ways that we can go about capturing all the recycling and compost we can and it’s looking like it’s very realistic to do so. That’s why we’ve been going at this because we want to keep setting ambitious goals for the Queen City of what we’re achieving from a university standpoint,” said Sytsma.

Sytsma envisions an agreement between the athletics department, the recycling department and SGA so that the university can effectively make Halton Arena become zero waste.

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