Even though college athletics and tailgating look a little different this year, Hokies can show their Virginia Tech pride — and help the environment — by homegating this football season.

During a typical season, tailgaters around Lane Stadium would see Game Day Green Team student volunteers from the Office of Sustainability passing out blue recycling bags and educating Hokies about sustainability, recycling, and waste management.

With the recent decision to prohibit tailgating on the Blacksburg campus this fall to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, fans have been asked to homegate with members of their family or in small pods to safely watch each game.

To keep the spirit of the Green Tailgate initiative alive, the 2020-21 Office of Sustainability interns would like to encourage the campus community to make their homegates greener and more sustainable. 

Here are 10 tips to make your homegate greener:

1.  Wear a reusable face covering. Follow public safety guidelines while showing your Hokie pride by donning a reusable cloth Virginia Tech face covering.

2. Use reusable plates, cups, utensils, grocery bags, and cloth napkins. Skip disposable utensils and supplies when possible.

3. Recycle bottles, cans, glass, and cardboard. Be aware of what is and isn’t accepted where you recycle. For example, not every recycler accepts plastics #3 - #7. Click here for links to Montgomery Regional Solid Waste Authority, Virginia Tech Recycling, Sustainable Blacksburg, and more — all of which have information about what can and can't be recycled.

4.  Buy in bulk instead of single serving snacks. This reduces packaging waste and the number of trips to the store.

5. Shop local at the Blacksburg Farmer’s Market or at a local farmer's market, butcher, or produce stand.

6. Be a knowledgeable consumer. Learn to look for sustainable food labels when shopping for your homegate. These labels could include Fair Trade, USDA Organic, and other ecolabels.

7.  Use alternative transportation to pick up food or supplies or head to a homegate. Walk, bicycle, or take public transit.

8.  Use propane to grill. Propane releases less carbon dioxide and other emissions compared to coal and common types of fuels. It is also nontoxic to soil and water and has other general benefits.

9. Stretch your legs at halftime. Throw a football around and get some fresh air. 

10. Consider composting. Set up a separate composting receptacle for food waste and biodegradable food packaging.

As a reminder, avoid large gatherings, practice good hygiene, and always wear a face covering to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Stay tuned into the VT Daily in the coming weeks and months to learn more about what the sustainability interns are up to this year.

For more information on green homegating or any questions, please contact the Office of Sustainability at sustainability@vt.edu.

— Written by Christy Myers


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