I heard a presentation in my Environmental Communications course today that got me thinking about how recycling is something that everyone thinks is a good idea but they do not participate in recycling unless it is really easy for them to do so.

Being the avid sports fan I am, I have attended tons of football and basketball games here at Kansas State. Fortunately I am here in a time where both the football team and men’s basketball team have had success and are drawing large crowds to many of their games. I have also cleaned up Bramlage Coliseum after many sold out basketball games.

Through these experiences I have noticed that there is some recycling that goes on, but it is not prevalent at these events. There are people who pick up bottles after football games in Bill Snyder Family Stadium, but there are also a lot of people who don’t leave their trash in the stands and just throw it away. When I have been a part of cleaning up Bramlage multiple times after games for student organizations and clubs I was very surprised with the way recycling was handled. Every time we have been directed to pick up what was left in the stands after games, we were told to collect everything in trash bags and haul it to trash carts that would be taken to the dump.

The sporting operations at UC Davis in Davis, Calif. are light years ahead of a lot of schools. At their football games this year, they started a program with recycling for plastic bottles and compost bins for food and plates and utensils that are made out of biodegradable materials.

For people to actually start recycling at events like K-State basketball and football games two things need to happen. Stadiums need to get rid of all materials that are not recyclable and only provide recycling and compost bins that are clearly labeled as opposed to trash cans so patrons can recycle. Stadiums also need to make recycling seem mainstream and cool. This can be accomplished by reminding patrons with messages from athletes, mascots and sponsors, before, during and after games about why there are recycling bins and why they should recycle.

A large part of my life outside of attending classes and learning about how I can effectively change the way people view and treat the environment is ultimate; commonly known as ultimate frisbee. I play for a club team at Kansas State and will hopefully be playing for a club team in Kansas City.

That said, although ultimate has recently made strides to become mainstream with the American Ultimate Disc League and being named the “fastest growing team sport in the nation” by the Sporting Goods Manufacturing association in 2011, ultimate has had its roots with people who are concerned about the environment.

Five Ultimate, an ultimate apparel company that provides jerseys, shorts, hats, bags and much more to ultimate teams and players worldwide, is a company that is very open about its practices and strives to be a green company. The Seattle based company purchases 100% of its electricity as wind energy through a system called Light’s Green Up. The company highlights this aspect on their website among others such as their office composting, providing its employees with free bus passes, using shipping methods that emit less CO2, and reusing misprinted gear for donations.

I think that Five Ultimate is great for publicly showing what they are doing when there are some corporations in America that choose to say they are pursuing green initiatives but not actually practicing them. I hope that with ultimate’s growing popularity that companies like Five Ultimate will continue with their green practices that have been popular with some of the purchasers of their products.

Here is a link to Five’s Environment page: http://fiveultimate.com/company/environment/