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Ragin' Cajuns fans aim for 'Zero Waste'

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When the University of Louisiana at Lafayette kicks off its fall football season Saturday, it will also start a new push to reduce waste.

At Cajun Field, recycling and waste containers will be available at every tailgating spot and in other high-traffic areas, said Gretchen Vanicor, the University's director of sustainability.

The University has been engaged in recycling since 2010, when its Student Government Association launched the effort on campus.

Collection bags for paper, plastic, cardboard and aluminum are available in all administrative buildings and faculty offices. There are also receptacles for recyclable materials across campus.

The Office of Sustainability now manages the program.

"We're expanding our efforts to embrace a zero waste philosophy," said Vanicor. "It's not just about recycling materials, it's about reducing the waste stream altogether."

Tailgating spots will have green recycling bins and blue trash bins. Inside the stadium, recycling materials will go into red containers, while trash will be stashed in black bins.

UL Lafayette AmeriCorps students will be present to encourage fans to use the bins and answer any questions. AmeriCorps is a national community service program.

The University will determine the volume collected during home games to compete in a collegiate recycling contest, the Game Day Challenge.

"Conservation of resources and respect for our environment are part of our culture," said Vanicor. "As a University, one of the things we can do to support those values is to create opportunities for the community to put those principles into action."