On October 12, the Florida Gators came to Death Valley for the highly anticipated game against the LSU Tigers with a sellout crowd and a reported attendance of 102,321. But with all the fun came a lot of trash.
Landscape Services has a plan for every LSU home game, but for a big game, more effort is required. A usual game day only requires four garbage trucks and two recycling trucks, but the Florida game required five trucks, with three of the trucks returning to pick up more trash.
“Both recycle trucks were filled, and one Landscape Services staff member remarked that this was the first game they have worked where five garbage trucks were filled,” Executive Director of Facility and Property Oversight Tammy Millican said.
The process to ensure the campus is clean for Monday morning is long, beginning Friday morning before the game. Facility Services starts by setting out 1,000 recycling bins and two-thirds of the 4,134 trash cans used by fans on game day.
The process continues the next morning at 4 a.m., with two crews of approximately 30 people beginning to set out the remaining cans and bins and line them all with bags, according to Facility Services. This process continues until 3 p.m., with staff collecting trash and cleaning up litter from the ground and trash receptacles.
For games like LSU vs. Florida where large crowds are expected, crews put out an additional 500 cardboard boxes in an effort to reduce the amount of trash on the ground. After 3 p.m., the size of the crowd is too large for cleanup; the crews wait until fans enter the stadium, then do a final cleanup before leaving at 7:30 p.m.
After the game, crews are brought back out at 4 a.m. Sunday to begin the cleanup. Workers don’t leave until all cans are emptied and every area of campus has been cleaned of litter. For the LSU vs. Florida game, Facility Services crew remained until 6:30 p.m.
The entire Landscape Services crew is then sent out at 6 a.m. Monday to ensure all the litter and trash bins are picked up.
The University also plans to compete in the GameDay Recycling Challenge, a national competition among universities meant to reduce and recycle waste from home football games. Participants choose one home football game and then report recycling, compost and attendance data for the game.
The challenge is administered by the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), RecycleMania, Keep America Beautiful and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise.
“LSU competes each year in the GameDay Recycling Challenge,” Millican said. “The University was Division Rate Champion in 2015 and 2016 and earned a second place finish last year.”
This year, LSU has chosen the Nov. 30 game against Texas A&M for the GameDay Challenge. For the first time, there will be food composting. Fans and tailgaters can bring their food waste to a designated area and that amount will be added to the total amount of recycled materials.