Pac-12 Team Green

Uniting all 12 universities
for a more
sustainable future

Pac-12 Zero Waste Competition

History of the Pac-12 Zero Waste Competition

In 2011, as a team effort between existing Pac-12 Green Sports Alliance (GSA) members and Green Sports Alliance membership outreach efforts, all of the Pac-12 campuses became Green Sports Alliance members.

In 2012, at the Annual Green Sports Alliance Summit, Pac-12 campuses were invited to the Green Sports Alliance office to initiate and formalize the GSA/Pac-12 Football Zero Waste Bowl and Basketball Road to Zero Waste competitions. All Pac-12 campuses agreed to actively participate since the zero waste competitions was a great way to start networking, engage the fans in sustainability, develop best practices, and provide a vehicle for friendly competitions.

In 2017, with the success and growth of the competitions, additional resources were needed to better support the competitions. The Pac-12 Office offered to provide resources and support both zero waste competitions.

In 2018, the Pac-12 announced the launch of Pac-12 Team Green, a new sustainability platform and first-of-its-kind in collegiate athletics, to promote all of the greening and sustainability efforts taking place on and around the Conference and all 12 of its member universities. With Unifi, one of the world’s leading innovators in manufacturing synthetic and recycled performance fibers, announced as the founding sustainability partner of Pac-12 Team Green, the foundation of the new platform is built upon the Pac-12 Zero Waste Competition, Pac-12 Sustainability Conference and Pac-12 Sustainability Working Group.

The Pac-12 Zero Waste Bowl and Road to Zero Waste

During each football and basketball season, Pac-12 campuses compete with each other in pursuit of a zero waste home game in each season. Zero Waste is an effective tool to fully engage the athletes, faculty, staff, students, fans, and the community at the athletic venue to show active commitment to zero waste and sustainability. The zero waste competitions have continued to grow and is now in its fourth year with all Pac-12 campuses participating.

The competition encourages campuses to move towards zero waste and be creative on developing best practices, whether it be directly through reuse, recycling, and composting or by working with partners to drive impactful changes. Partners can include concessionaires, merchandise vendors, haulers, campus departments, manufacturers, sponsors, and service providers.

The Pac-12 zero waste competitions are unique when compared to other zero waste or recycling competitions. It not only uses the diversion rate as a key factor for the competition but it also takes into account two other key elements to succeed in achieving zero waste at athletic venues.

The score card also includes a Partnership and Participation section in identifying and developing partners, sponsors, and stakeholders and to identify their specific roles in the competition. The other special key element is the Innovation Credit section where the campus must identify their impacts of the competition through engagement with the campus, tailgates, organizations, sponsors, fans, contributions, and community.

Partnerships and Sponsorships

Zero waste is an additional opportunity to add value to programs with current sponsorships and a way to market to new partners and sponsors. The activations can focus, highlight and maximize the impacts of zero waste and sustainability efforts at athletic events. Marketing partners in these efforts already include IMG and Learfield, which work with a number of the Pac-12 campuses on developing green marketing and fan engagement through various activations.

Campuses are already working with partners and sponsors like Nissan, Toyota, Stopwaste, BASF, Eco-products, Pepsi, Levy Restaurants, Renew Merchandise, Ecosafe, Vegware, and Max-R to further add zero waste and sustainability as assets to their marketing portfolio.

The University of Colorado, Boulder, UC Berkeley, and Ohio State University are great examples of where they have taken leadership in zero waste goals and then added value with their partners and sponsors through their existing marketing efforts.

Rating Scale, How it works

This competition does not rate campuses purely based on numbers or diversion rate, but also on athlete, student, staff, and fan engagement and partnerships. It encourages innovation and creativity beyond only recycling and composting numbers. This could mean creating unique marketing, working with haulers and operational staff to reduce and eliminate waste, or brainstorming with vendors/partners to develop zero waste products and guidelines.

Each campus selects one home game during the football and basketball season to use as their main competition game. In addition to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place slots, there are also additional special innovations awards campuses can compete in to receive extra recognition.

The scorecard includes the following unique categories:

  • Campus Profile
  • Partnerships (25%)
  • Waste Diversion (50%)
  • Innovation Credit (25%)
  • Special Innovation Awards: Fan Engagement, Most Improved, Athletic/Players Engagement

When all forms are received, an independent panel of expert judges will review the submittals and rank each campus based on what is reported. The winning campus for the competition is recognized and awarded during the annual Pac-12 Sustainability Summit.

Progress and Past Results

2017-18 Zero Waste Bowl - Basketball Results

  • 1st Place: University of California, Berkeley: 95.7% diversion rate
  • Fan Engagement Award: University of Arizona
  • Athlete/Player Engagement Award: Stanford University
  • Recognition for Exemplary Effort: Arizona State University

2017-18 Zero Waste Bowl - Football Results

  • 1st Place: University of Southern California: 90.1% diversion rate
  • Fan Engagement Award: Utah University
  • Athlete/Player Engagement Award: University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Most Improved: Stanford University

2016-17 Zero Waste Bowl - Basketball Results

  • 1st Place: University of California, Berkeley: 94% diversion rate
  • 2nd Place: University of Colorado, Boulder: 92% diversion rate
  • 3rd Place: University of Arizona: 65% diversion rate
  • Fan Engagement Award: University of Arizona
  • Athlete/Player Engagement Award: Stanford University
  • Most Improved: University of California, Los Angeles

2016-17 Zero Waste Bowl - Football Results

  • 1st Place: University of Southern California: 94% diversion rate
  • 2nd Place: Arizona State University: 93% diversion rate
  • 3rd Place: University of Colorado, Boulder: 87% diversion rate
  • Fan Engagement Award: Stanford University
  • Athlete/Player Engagement Award: Oregon State University
  • Most Improved: University of Southern California

What's to Come

  • 2018-2019 Zero Waste Bowl - Basketball Competition
  • Pac-12 Sustainability Summit

2018 Zero Waste Football Schedule

Saturday, October 6
Friday, October 12
Saturday, October 13
Saturday, October 20
Saturday, October 27
Saturday, October 27
Saturday, November 3
Saturday, November 3
Saturday, November 10
Saturday, November 17
Saturday, November 17
Friday, November 23