Eco-Products and the University of Colorado have teamed up to make Folsom Field one of the nation’s greenest stadiums – on the outside as well as on the inside.

The university has expanded its zero-waste efforts from inside the stadium — where virtually all food and drink packaging is refillable, recyclable or compostable – to outside the stadium at a special tailgating area on Franklin Field.

The grassy area – now called the Aluminum Can Zone Presented by Ball Corporation – is the latest in a recent wave of updates to the fan experience in and around Folsom Field. Special tents available for rent come complete with furniture, a cooler, and specially designed compostable tailgate supplies. The tents are so popular that they’ve long been sold out.

“This is a perfect example of how easy it can be for fan experience and sustainability to coexist,” said Sarah Martinez, Sustainability Maven for Eco-Products. “This is about as green as a tailgating area can get.”

Eco-Products, based in Boulder, Co., already supplies hundreds of thousands of compostable cups, plates, trays, utensils and straws at Folsom Field. Now it is also supplying special plates, cups and utensils – all of which are compostable and all in University of Colorado colors – for the tailgating area as well. 

The partnership simplifies waste disposal for fans. All plates, cups, and utensils can go into the same compostable bins – along with any leftover food.

Fans can walk to the special tailgating area after parking at the stadium’s new solar-powered underground garage. Then, once inside Folsom Field, fans find “Zero Waste Goalies” wearing green shirts and showing which recyclable and compostable bins to put waste into.

“Even at CU, we still see some blank stares when people walk up to the bin stations,” Martinez said. “But we make it as easy for fans, and they’re always happy to learn that their trash is not headed to the landfill.”

Together, the efforts make up Ralphie’s Green Stampede, the NCAA’s first sports sustainability program. Fans now recycle at a 90 percent rate during football games at Folsom Field.

“Fans have good reason to be proud of the University of Colorado’s commitment to the environment,” said Rick George, CU’s Athletic Director. “Ralphie’s Green Stampede has been a huge success, keeping tons of garbage out of area landfills. This new approach to zero-waste tailgating builds on our momentum and represents the next step in our sustainability journey.”

Everyone involved is excited about this success. “But no one is resting on their laurels,” Martinez added. “We want to keep doing more.”