University of Louisiana at Lafayette starts composting program at football stadium

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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette) has started a composting program at its football stadium Sept. 1.

Trash cans inside Cajun Field have been removed to make way for stations that hold separate bins where fans can choose whether their garbage will be composted or recycled rather than sent to landfills.

It’s part of a larger campus-wide effort to produce zero waste. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette approved a Sustainability Strategic Plan in July that calls for reusing, recycling or composting trash that otherwise would be bound for the dump.

The stadium will serve food on biodegradable plates or in reusable containers instead of plastic-lined paper products. Wooden spoons, forks and knives will replace plastic utensils, and fans will consume beverages from either aluminum cans or recyclable plastic cups, and compostable straws will be available upon request.

Cajun Field is the first stadium in Louisiana to move toward a zero-waste goal, Gretchen Lacombe Vanicor, director of the university’s Office of Sustainability, says. She adds that if the Cajun Field pilot program is successful, the composting initiative could expand to other campus sites.

Tailgaters outside Cajun Field and fans inside the stadium sent an average of 10.3 tons of materials per game to landfills since 2014, Vanicor says.

“With the changes we have made inside Cajun Field for this season, we believe more than 90 percent of the materials inside the stadium will be either compostable or recyclable,” Vanicor says.

Trash cans will remain in tailgating areas for now, but fans are encouraged to minimize waste by choosing reusable containers and avoiding Styrofoam and glass containers.