ROTC students tackle game day trash with Zero Waste program

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Popcorn, nachos, beer cans and much more. Ohio Stadium holds more than 100,000 fans, and The Shoe is littered with a lot of trash after every home game the Buckeyes play. Members of the Ohio State ROTC program help get rid of the trash left behind on the mornings after.

“Nachos. Soggy nachos are bad just ‘cause those have a smell,” Cameron Maxwell said. Maxwell is one of dozens of students who spend hours in The Shoe cleaning up the mess to raise money for their ROTC training.

“We split off into groups, and some folks go through and pick everything by hand and they separate out for the Zero Waste program,” Maxwell explained. “They have two people that separate out. One person picks compost, and one person picks recycling.”

The Zero Waste program is something OSU has developed over the past several years. Ohio Stadium is actually the largest venue in the country to divert at least 90 percent of trash from the landfill by recycling, repurposing and composting.

Fans can do their part to make the most out of all the trash left behind, too.

“For the actual games, there’s actually Zero Waste employees designated for each Zero Waste station,” said Jason Browning of the OSU Athletic Facility Operations. “So if people aren’t sure what to put in, they can help teach them.”

Those doing the cleanup say their job could be a lot easier if fans would pitch in on game day, and Maxwell has a heartfelt plea for those attending the games.

“If I could say kindly, from the bottom of our hearts here at ROTC, please pick up your trash before you leave the stadium,” he said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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