Environmental Friday

Fall is almost here. Even though it’s almost 100 degrees outside, we are in the home stretch of this intense heat and soon the comforting cool breeze of pumpkin spice, sweaters and falling leaves will blow in. The transition from sandals to boots also means something else — it’s football time in the Bluegrass! 

As you get ready to tailgate in your favorite wildcat-blue outfit for the Florida game tomorrow, you’re probably wondering, “How can I be more conscious of the environment while I have fun today?” Well, you’re in luck because I have a few suggestions for you.

Although it is no secret that I strongly disagree with the notion that recycling is not the answer to the growing plastic waste crisis, it is a good, simple way to reduce your impact on the environment on game day.

If you tailgate in one of the parking lots of Kroger Field (RIP Commonwealth Stadium), UK Recycling will actually bring recycling bags for bottles and cans to every tailgating group. Please remember to empty your bottles and cans of any liquid before throwing them in the bag so that we can avoid contaminating the recycling center with a mysterious stew of soda, beer, and water.

If you’re tailgating outside the parking lots, you can use your own clear plastic bag (black trash bags will be thrown away at the recycling center) to collect bottles and cans. You can leave these bags in a recycling dumpster or in one of the stadium parking lots. 

If you haven’t heard the local news, the city of Lexington has put a temporary ban on recycling paper. UK Recycling, however, has made efforts to continue accepting paper products which they send for processing in Cincinnati (which is a really cool move).

Since the goal is to first reduce, then reuse, then recycle, I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest some ways to avoid using bottles and cans in the first place.

First, you can bring reusable jugs or water dispensers to refill reusable water bottles while you tailgate. This allows you to stay hydrated and avoid disposable water bottles. 

If you like to make food when you tailgate, use reusable serving dishes and bring cheap, reusable plates from Goodwill that will survive if they sit around with a little food on them. You could also just make finger-foods like burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, etc.  

As for aluminum soda and beer cans, you can get fancy. Try bringing refillable growlers that you filled up at a local brewery. Aluminum cans are actually the most recyclable product because just about 100% of the material can be made into more aluminum cans, whereas other waste products like plastic and paper can only be recycled to a certain extent. As long as you are recycling your cans, I am less worried about this waste product. 

If you plan on tailgating this football season, consider keeping some of these suggestions in mind and keep UK green (and blue).