Guest Opinion: Why can’t Iowa Athletics go green?

Initiatives across the Big Ten set an example of sustainability that the Hawkeyes can and should follow in their facilities.


Shivansh Ahuja

Kinnick Stadium is seen fom the north end zone at Iowa Football Media Day on Friday, August 9, 2019.

When it comes to sustainable initiatives, the University of Iowa Athletics Department is struggling to compete within the Big Ten Conference. From facilities to nutrition, the Iowa Athletics program funds a variety of amazing opportunities for their athletes. Yet, there is a gaping hole within the program that many of us do not see: sustainability initiatives.

Why can’t they strive to be No. 1 in zero-waste game days and renewable energy instead of growing their carbon footprint? Athletics needs to put resources toward proper waste management to compete with leading institutions who are already going zero-waste. 

Just think of all the trash that is collected after games in the stadium, parking lots, and tailgates. Having recycling bins is not enough. Athletics needs to cut waste at its source by eliminating single-use plastics and offering composting at its events.

The ball has already been passed. The wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented. Most Big Ten programs have sustainability initiatives set in full force to help our planet showing that the tools necessary for a more sustainable future are readily available for Iowa Athletics’ use. 

For example, Ohio State has a stadium that seats more than 100,000 people, and more than 90 percent of its game-day trash deferred from the landfill because of compostable products and its pledge for zero-waste football games. Zero-waste is possible — it’s just a matter of support.

More recycling, composting, and monitored stations are needed in the stadium, parking lots, and locker rooms. We take care of our athletes — let’s start taking care of our world. The possibilities are endless for Iowa Athletics to make their mark on our community. Let’s just hope it is a green one.

From athletes to fans, we can all cheer, change, recycle, and save the planet. Let’s go, Hawks!

— Carlene Lange

— Isabella Blackman

Iowa City residents

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