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April 1, 2014

MADISON -Whether on the field or in the stands, athletes and fans can get active this spring by reducing, reusing and recycling at the game. Recycling specialists at the Department of Natural Resources advise a few simple steps that can cut sports' carbon footprint and ensure that everybody wins in the long run.

Tips for teams and athletes

Lots of athletes, teams and families already pitch in by recycling any aluminum cans or glass bottles they bring to the games, buying from sports resale shops or using hand-me-downs, but there are plenty of other ways to reduce or recycle.

For instance, when you buy sports equipment, don't forget to reuse or recycle the plastic film, hard plastic and cardboard packaging the equipment came in. If you bike or skateboard to games or practice, you might be interested to know that bicycle and skateboard recycling is growing in popularity. Check with your local bike or resale shops to see if they recycle bikes or parts. You can also recycle old athletic shoes through programs like ShoeBox Recycling and Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe (both links exit DNR).

There are ways to help the earth on the sidelines, too. Lots of teams fuel up on snacks like apples and oranges - the good news is these items are completely biodegradable! You can save cores, peels and rinds for backyard composting.

Finally, many sports teams make group pledges to help the local environment by taking on a recycling challenge, adopting a local park or highway or committing to some other sustainable practice as a group. It's a fun way to promote the team, build team spirit and help keep your home field clean!

Tips for fans

Fans, too, can play their part. An easy but often overlooked way to help keep your sports venues green is to promote the use of recycling and trash bins in public areas.

If you are hosting a sporting event or are in charge of an event venue, you can point people in the right direction. Be sure to place trash and recycling bins in easily accessible, visible locations where visitors will be able to see and use them. The DNR offers tips on how to promote recycling and waste reduction at your event [PDF].

Other tips for fans include reusing paper and cardboard from packaging materials to make signs and banners, carpooling to games and purchasing reusable souvenir cups that can be reused at the event or at home.

For more reuse and recycling ideas to use throughout the year, see the DNR's tips on recycling and waste reduction for all seasons.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Elisabeth Olson, 608-264-9258

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 01, 2014

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