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Pac-12 Team Green

Uniting all 12 universities
for a more
sustainable future

California selected as overall winner of Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge for 2018-19 basketball season

May 23, 2019
Arizona State and UCLA also selected as subcategory winners
Pac-12 universities to be recognized as Zero Waste Challenge winners on June 26
during 2019 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference at University of Washington
SAN FRANCISCO – The Pac-12 Conference today announced honorees of the Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge for the 2018-19 basketball season with the University of California, Berkeley being selected as both the overall winner as well as winner of the student-athlete engagement category. Also recognized as subcategory winners include Arizona State University (fan engagement) and the University of California, Los Angeles (most improved). All three institutions, along with winners of the Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge for the 2018 football season, will be recognized and honored during a special ceremony on June 26 during 2019 Pac-12 Sustainability Conference at University of Washington. Tickets for the event are available at
"It is an honor to win the Pac 12 Zero Waste Challenge for the 2018-19 basketball season” said Joe Mulford, senior associate athletics director, chief revenue officer for Cal Athletics. “We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of sustainability efforts with our athletic facilities.  We appreciate our partnership with Cal Zero Waste and everything they do to execute our Zero Waste game."  

One of the core pillars of Pac-12 Team Green, the Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge is held annually during both football and basketball seasons. Each university selects one home football game and one home basketball game to compete and provide a platform for engaging on best practices in waste diversion. As part of the competition, each university submitted a scorecard describing the efforts around its Zero Waste game. Criteria is weighted as such: 25 percent participation and partnerships, 25 percent innovation credit and 50 percent stadium diversion rate.
A total of five judges selected one overall winner and one winner in three categories. The judging panel consisted of:
  • Bill Walton – Pac-12 representative, sustainability advocate & basketball legend
  • Mike Carey – LEED Expert & sustainability coordinator at Orange Coast College
  • Tyler Sytsma – Sustainability coordinator at University of North Carolina, Charlotte
  • Cheryl Wong – Assistant commissioner, sports management & championships, Pac-12 Conference
Overall Winner – 2018-19 Basketball Season: California (men’s basketball vs. Stanford, Feb. 3, 2019)
  • Achieved 92.1% stadium diversion rate, including over 400 lbs in compost, over 240 lbs in bottles and cans and 250 lbs in food donations.
  • Cal Zero Waste collaborated with Unifi, Cal Athletics and the university’s Parking and Transportation department to educate the campus community about the circular economy during a pregame event, including utilizes Unifi’s REPREVE mobile tour outside of Haas Pavilion.
  • Cal Zero Waste also partnered with the campus dining staff to organize a pregame training session for concession stand employees on how to properly sort the materials generated for later food donations.
  • Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton showed his support by attending the game and stopping by the Cal Zero Waste activation area.
  • More information at
Best Student-Athlete Engagement: California (men’s basketball vs. Stanford, Feb. 3, 2019)
  • Utilized student-athlete volunteers to promote its “trash talking,” a program where Cal Zero Waste officials near bin stations help make sure materials are correctly sorted by fans and to also help educate and engage fans in a dialogue about waste reduction, composting and recycling.
  • Promoted the theme of a circular economy be coordinating with Cal Athletics and Unifi to place free REPREVE recycled t-shirts on the benches of the student section, donated by Unifi and promoted by the Cal dance team.
  • In total, enlisted the help of over 30 volunteers, including students from a local elementary school as well as Cal student-athletes.
Best Fan-Engagement: Arizona State (women’s basketball vs. Arizona, Feb. 1, 2019)
  • Achieved 88.43% stadium diversion rate, including 147 lbs of recycling and 187 lbs of compost.
  • Interacted with fans throughout the day by tabling on the concourse with activations that included educational activities and sorting games to receive prizes such as bamboo coasters.
  • Utilized promotional hashtag on social media by having fans tag #GreenGameASU on their posts for a chance to win a $100 gift card to ASU’s bookstore, five $25 gift cards to Sparky’s Tea Store and a host of reusable cups.
  • Utilized ASU’s “942 crew” student fan group to hand out promotional Green Game shirts to fans during halftime. The shirts were created to promote and expand sustainability awareness across campus and into the surrounding community.
  • More information at
Most-Improved: UCLA (men’s basketball vs. Colorado, Feb. 6, 2019)
  • Achieved 94.7% stadium diversion rate.
  • New this year, UCLA organized a joint effort across multiple university groups for the Zero Waste Challenge, including the athletics department, campus sustainability and UCLA students. The combined effort was designed to maximize efforts and improve overall sustainability initiatives at UCLA.
  • Also new this year, promoted the Zero Waste Challenge game with the help of UCLA Athletics marketing team, helping raise awareness of the group’s efforts.
  • More information at
Other highlights from around the Conference for the 2018-19 basketball edition of the Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge included:
  • Arizona – The Wildcats activated social media channels and campus entities to promote its sustainability efforts. Arizona also extended awareness by creating a t-shirt for sale on campus for their Feb. 9 matchup at the McKale Center.  More information at
  • Colorado – The Buffs activated digital and social media channels, in partnership with Ralphie’s Green Stampede, to offer fans a quiz on zero-waste and sustainability-related facts in order to improve fan education which resulted in over 2,700 engaged users. More information at
  • Oregon – The Ducks focused on the education of attendees for their Zero Waste game in areas with the most potential impact to reduce the amounts of contaminants in its Lane County recycling systems and to educate fans on the real difference one person can make. More information available at
  • Oregon State – The Beavers had 20 student-athletes from various sports join members of the Beavers Athletes Sustainability Team (BAST) volunteered to educate fans at recycling stations about the Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge.
  • Stanford – The Cardinal reached over 2,300 fans who attended their Zero Waste game via digital channels. Throughout the entire basketball season, Stanford had 20 sets of recycling and compost bins, along with appropriate signage, added to complement existing landfill bins in the arena and concourse. More information at
  • Utah – The Utes focused their efforts on their “Recycle Right” campaign. An effort specific to the Huntsman Center, Utah chose to host their Zero Waste game during a women’s gymnastics meet on March 2 vs. Michigan. As the highest attended women’s sports program in collegiate sports, the Utes had images and creative made to accompany newly installed bins around the arena to ensure appropriate use. The arena also ran a 30-second “Recycle Right” promotional video to remind fans to look at the bins prior to tossing items in. More information at
  • Washington – The Huskies continued its “Green Minute” message on the arena video board during its Zero Waste game to inform fans in attendance about the importance of sustainability to UW and encourage them to properly dispose of waste. Washington also activated stations around the arena entrance to inform and educate fans on proper waste practices. More information at
  • Washington State – The Cougars worked closely with Beasley Coliseum staff to arrange bins and signage around the venue for proper waste. Washington State also utilized in-arena video boards and public address announcer to highlight and inform the Zero Waste game. They also held a naming contest on campus to ask students to submit slogans, logos and/or ideas to be used in promotion of the Road to Zero Waste event. More information at
More information on the Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge is available at
About the Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge
The Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge is one of the core pillars of Pac-12 Team Green, the sustainability platform launched in 2018 to promote sustainability efforts taking place on Pac-12 campuses and around the Conference. Each Pac-12 institution participates in the competition with the goal of determining which university diverted the most waste from the landfill at a select football and basketball game, as well as which used the most innovative methods to expand reach and impact of sustainability education efforts.
About the Pac-12 Conference
The Conference has a tradition as the “Conference of Champions,” leading the nation in NCAA Championships in 52 of the last 58 years, with 523 NCAA team titles overall. The Conference comprises 12 leading U.S. universities - the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Colorado, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the University of Utah, the University of Washington and Washington State University. For more information on the Conference’s programs, member institutions, and Commissioner Larry Scott, go to​