Living Columns & Blogs

‘It’s that simple.’ What to know about cleaning up after a Penn State football tailgate

We have been preaching the same message for the past few years: When attending a Penn State football game, remember, blue bags are for bottles and cans and clear bags are for everything else. It’s that simple. We’d love to see the recycling contamination reduced this season and we do have an education program in place to spread the word on proper recycling at our home games.

We are making it super easy for folks to recycle at upcoming football tailgate parties. Once you settle in at your tailgate spot, walk over to an A-frame labeled for PSU Football Recycling. The A-frames contain two colors of bags (blue bags for recycling plastic bottles, glass bottles and aluminum cans — clear bags for everything else). We are only collecting plastic bottles, glass bottles and metal cans for recycling in the blue bags (we are no longer taking paper for recycling at the tailgates). If you are unsure about which bags to use for bottles and cans and which bags to use for everything else, reminders are posted at the A-frames.

Once you fill your blue bags with bottles and cans, just tie up the bag and leave it at your tailgate. Do the same with your clear trash bag: tie it up and leave it at your tailgate. The grounds crew will begin collecting blue and clear bags the morning after the game. Clear bags will go to the landfill and the blue bags will be delivered to the Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority, where the contents will be sorted and recycled.

To sort the recyclables, employees of CCRRA will open each bag by hand and empty the contents on our sorting conveyor belt. They will then sort the materials from the bags by hand into the following categories: plastic bottles, clear glass bottles, green glass bottles, brown glass bottles and metal cans. The recyclables will be prepared and sent to market and made into new products.

This would be a relatively easy process if the blue bags only contain plastic bottles, glass bottles and metal cans. It is not as easy when the blue bags also contain trash.

With readers like you helping to spread the word, I hope blue bag recycling material will come into our facility much cleaner this season. Please help me educate your friends and family on proper recycling at football tailgates this fall. I know as a community we can do this!

Lastly, leave your tailgate area better than you found it. Our employees, the PSU grounds crew and your community will thank you for it.

As always, thanks for recycling and WE ARE!

Amy Schirf is education coordinator for the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority. Contact her at