Illini Insider | 'Fighting Illini Fighting Waste' coming to football season

Sep. 14—Welcome to "Illini Insider," your regular dose of University of Illinois news from beat writer Luke Taylor. Fresh out of college himself, he's always looking for story tips, photo ideas and social media mentions. Email him at and he'll give chase.


Sporting events can create a lot of waste, especially from food packaging, so the Illinois Climate Action Plan is trying out a new program at Illini football games.

"Fighting Illini Fighting Waste" made its first debut at basketball games last year, but the Sept. 23 and Nov. 11 games will be the trials for the football crowd.

As tailgaters arrive, they will receive information on what materials can be recycled and bags to put those materials in.

Then, they just need to bring the filled bags to a Facilities and Services tent in Lot 31 or hand off individual items to student volunteers near the Grange Grove entrances to Memorial Stadium.

While supplies last, people who turn in recyclables in Lot 31 can get free Block I t-shirts.

"Tailgating activities at the university are expansive, which requires a strategic plan for waste management and collection," said zero waste coordinator Daphne Hulse. "The purpose of this program is to call attention to waste sustainability and assist those less familiar with the process."

Jen Fraterrigo, associate director for campus sustainability, said that increasing recycling rates and reducing waste generation are both important in the Illinois Climate Action Plan goal of reducing the amount of waste going to landfills from UI.

That's why, alongside the recycling events, the group is trying to make sure people know that Memorial Stadium allows them to bring in clear, empty reusable water bottles up to 32 ounces in size.

They can be filled up at new "hydration stations" that have been installed in the stadium to reduce the need to purchase single-use plastic bottles.

Overall, the recycling event will allow organizers to see how they can make recycling more convenient and raise awareness of the need to do so.

"This season will be a benchmark for the program to determine how we can improve and expand from our original plans," Hulse said.