People to Watch: Corey Hawkey

From the 08/03/2011 edition

Walking into Ohio Stadium this fall, you'll probably notice things look a little different. You can thank Corey Hawkey for part of that.

As sustainability coordinator for the university, Hawkey is working to turn one of the largest stadiums in the country into a zero-waste facility.

What does "zero waste" mean? It's a process that keeps 90 percent of waste produced from ending up in landfills. So the crowd at the stadium will still generate waste, but most of it will be recycled or composted.

"We updated our operations of how we're going to handle the collection and cleaning of the stadium," Hawkey said. "We're putting up new signage all over the stadium, purchased new infrastructure, we've bought containers for compost and recycling, and we'll be removing all the trashcans."

It's quite an undertaking, considering that the only stadium to reach zero waste is the 9,000-seat Aggie Stadium at University of California Davis, according to Hawkey. Ohio Stadium seats more than 100,000 fans.

Last year, OSU's stadium was diverting 50 percent of its waste, which is the highest number for a stadium bigger than 100,000 seats. The Big House in Michigan diverted only 30 percent. Go Bucks!

The zero-waste goal is a multifaceted project that Hawkey and the university plan to extend to other parts of the university.

Hawkey already oversees a food-pulping system at the Ohio Union that diverts food scraps from landfills, and organic waste is being collected from The Blackwell hotel, The Ohio State University Faculty Club and The Fawcett Center. Hawkey also plans to continue making tailgating at games more eco-friendly.

"It might take a while, but the goal is to really integrate this not only into the culture of Ohio State football, but athletics in general and the university as a whole," he said.