Pioneers Attract: Unwrapp'd Partners With the University of Denver Athletic Program to Bring Zero-Waste Energy Bars to Campus

The University of Denver (DU) becomes first university in the country to provide zero-waste energy bars to their student-athletes.

Used as a verb, pioneer means “to develop or be the first to apply a new method, area of knowledge, or activity.” And now, thanks to an exciting new partnership, the University of Denver’s “Pioneer” mascot name has taken on a whole new meaning. DU has become the first collegiate athletic program in the country to provide zero-waste energy bars to their student-athletes. 

As the world unites to solve for its disposable, single-use packaging epidemic, energy bar wrappers have fallen under intense scrutiny. All of those single-use wrappers end up littering landfills, roadsides, and oceans. With college campuses being a major source of energy bar consumption, DU has chosen to partner with Unwrapp’d–the original eco-conscious energy bar company–to provide fresh, plant-based energy and protein bites to its student-athletes. Unwrapp’d has deconstructed energy bars into convenient, snackable bites that are then placed in fully reusable and recyclable jars, eliminating any single-use plastics. Their new closed-loop packaging system enables DU’s athletic program to offer a first-of-its-kind zero-waste option.

“The University of Denver is setting the trend when it comes to colleges and universities addressing the single-use plastic issue. They're making a commitment to not only reducing waste on their campus, but also to providing their student-athletes with high quality, clean snacks,” says Unwrapp’d Co-Founder and DU alum, Reed McIntyre. “We are beyond proud to be partnering with DU athletics and contribute to their tradition of sustaining championship level teams and athletes year after year.” 

The ingredients are refreshingly real for a category of food notorious for using added sugar, artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. “We are pleased to provide Unwrapp’d Energy Bites at the Pioneer Nutrition Station as a healthy, clean food source to fuel the University of Denver student-athletes. They love the tasty and convenient treats to eat on the run before and after workouts, heading off to class, or baking into their own unique treats. Helping to reduce the environmental impact through their eco-conscious, zero waste packaging is another reason DU is so proud to offer Unwrapp’d Energy Bites to the student athletes,” says Julie Campbell, DU’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for Pioneer Health & Performance. 

Once per month, Unwrapp’d picks up the empty, used jars from the DU campus. The jars are washed and sanitized according to FDA protocol, repackaged, and returned to campus to feed their next round of student athletes. The sustainable packaging program enables DU to dramatically reduce its waste footprint. By the end of this school year alone, it is estimated that the equivalent of 5,000 wrappers will have been kept out of DU trash bins.

“As always, there’s no excuse for single-use,” exclaims McIntyre.  

Learn more at

Source: Unwrapp'd


Categories: Food and Beverage Manufacturing

Tags: Denver, Eco-Friendly, food and beverage, Reusable Packaging, Save the Planet, single-use plastics, Sustainable, Sustainable Foods, University of Denver, University Programs, Unwrapp'd, Zero-Waste

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Rachel Czyzynski
Public Relations, New Light Communication