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The Prospector

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The Prospector

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The environmental impact of tailgating and litter


One of the greatest American pastimes is coming together for a good, competitive game of football with an ice-cold beer, some burgers on the grill and maybe even some team colors painted on your face. Even better is if someone can attend an in-person event with like-minded people for a great game. 

The art of tailgating has become popularized, especially within the college football community, bringing fans together in a game of good sportsmanship as they cheer on their teams to victory. Nothing can really tread on this good time, except maybe a loss of their team.  

However, once the game is over and the jerseys have been hung up, everyone goes their separate ways, leaving behind overflowing trash bins and a trail of garbage to garnish the winds El Paso is known for. Although UTEP is pretty good with the aftermath cleanup, there still remains a crushed can of Budweiser, a broken bottle of Corona, and food wrappers littering the campus parking lots that follow the festivities from the game.  

According to, people within the age range of 16 and 34 are most likely to litter compared to others. 71 percent of litter is micro litter, meaning it is smaller than two inches; this can consist of gum wrappers, bottle caps and cigarette butts. 

Every time someone litters, they can be fined $500, according to According to a study that Don’t Mess with Texas did on attitudes and behaviors, one-third said they had littered within the last month, although 39 percent of them said it was accidentally.  

What is the solution? Well, nothing is black and white. People have the right to have fun and some people do not realize what is happening sometimes, and not everyone is going to care; that is a grave reality. However, some easy ways to help with cleanup: 

  1. Carry a trash bag with you and grab trash you see along the way as you leave the game afterwards. 
  1. Point people in the right direction of trash collections. 
  1. Be more mindful of the waste you are producing. 
  1. BYOB- Bring your own Beverage (Water Bottle). 
  1. TYOB- Take your own Beverage when you leave. 
  1. When choosing snacks, choose easy cleanup snacks.

Obviously, this is not a perfect solution, but they are some ways to help in reducing the pollution of El Paso. Afterall, the goal is to enjoy tailgating without destroying our home in the process.  

Because at the end of the day, we do not want anyone to mess with Texas. 


Kristen Scheaffer is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Kristen Scheaffer, Contributor/Writer
Kristen Scheaffer is a senior, studying multimedia journalism with a minor in creative writing. She is starting her final semester at UTEP and The Prospector, with hopes of graduating in December. When she is not reporting, she can be found reading, writing, drawing, and hiking. Her aspirations include publishing her own writing and delving more into politics.
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The environmental impact of tailgating and litter