Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 68.77
Liaison Marianne Martin
Submission Date Nov. 9, 2010
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.0

University of Colorado Boulder
IN-1: Innovation 1

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Daniel Baril
Staff Member
CU Environmental Center
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome :

Ralphies Green Stampede--The Nation's First Zero Waste Football Stadium

In 2008, CU became the first NCAA FBS football stadium to transition to a entirely zero-waste system by changing all food service materials from disposable to compostable/recyclable--and by removing all public trash containers and implementing a robust compost and recycling system.

This is and has remained an innovative materials management approach that reaches literally hundreds of thousands of people--and has great environmental impacts.

To date, only a handful of other stadiums have begun this transition. For instance, in 2009, EPA launched a GameDay Challenge aimed at creating a competition among stadiums trying to implement zero waste--and only 8 campuses were involved. However, the results--including CU winning all the important categories (Note CU far outdistanced even the second place campus)--indicated the scale of the positive impact of this innovation:

From the EPA: "During the 2009 Challenge, the eight participating schools reduced more than 40,000 pounds of waste. These efforts decreased greenhouse emissions by more than 105 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. This equates to the annual greenhouse gas emissions produced from the consumption of nearly 12,000 gallons of gasoline; or equivalent to the annual emissions produced by nearly 4,400 propane cylinders used for home barbeques. Specific results and final standings are listed below.

Diversion Rate
Rank School Diversion Rate (%)
1) University of Colorado
2) Ohio University
3) Harvard University
4) University of Michigan
5)Brigham Young University
6) West Virginia University
7)North Carolina State University
8)Auburn University

In 2010, the innovation has begun to create real and substantial change. Competition in EPA's program has ballooned to over 88 campuses this year.

To date, only two professional sports stadiums have transitioned to zero waste--and both are in jurisdictions that have approved legislation requiring a zero waste approach (Seattle and San Francisco). CU's innovation occurred in a voluntary regulatory environment.

Data from all of RGS zero-waste games are available in the web address below.


News reports of the innovations:

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
The website URL where information about the innovation is available :

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.