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NFL’s Super Challenge: Recycling Food Wrappers and Beer Cups From 60,000 Fans

Star Tribune
By 

From blinking cups to purses, NFL, stadium aim for maximum recycling. 

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Heidi Riley dumped plastic into a recycling bin after a game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Photo Credit: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

They have finally found a home for the purses.

Whether it was a Fendi shoulder sling or a Trader Joe’s tote, the thousands of bags that Vikings fans have relinquished at U.S. Bank Stadium security gates during the past two years wound up in a landfill or incinerator.

But in the drive to score what the NFL and stadium officials hope will be the first zero-waste Super Bowl — and launch the first zero-waste football stadium — those fans can now donate their bags to the women’s nonprofit Dress for Success.

That’s one of the more novel solutions the stadium has adopted in its effort to dramatically increase the amount of gameday trash that is put to good use through recycling or composting.

“There are Coach purses — our women are ecstatic,” said Stephanie Silvers, executive director of Dress for Success, which provides financial education and job-hunting support for 1,000 women a year

It’s taken awhile to get to this point, stadium and NFL officials acknowledge. A year ago, the stadium was recycling 20 percent of the garbage that left the stadium after every game and event — up to 40 tons in total — mostly food waste and non-recyclable containers. And those purses.

Now “we are well down the path,” said Mike Vekich, chairman of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.

But getting there took a lot of work.

In the last year, the food vendors have all switched to compostable containers. The stadium purchased some 375 clearly marked, $1,500 single and triple compartmented bins, which now stand like sentinels along the concourses and in all the suites. Then there are three massive compactors in the bowels of the building to compress each type of waste before it’s loaded into waiting trucks.

The stadium management firm, SMG, has hired a sustainability manager, arranged to donate all unopened food from the kitchens to food shelves, and contracted to deliver recyclables and organics to the Hennepin County Recycling and Transfer Station in Brooklyn Park and a composting facility in Rosemount.

“It’s an unbelievably large operation,” said Paul Kroening, Hennepin County’s supervising environmentalist. “It takes a lot to feed 50 or 60 thousand people.”

And now, with Super Bowl LII just weeks away, U.S. Bank Stadium is ready for its oh-so-green debut.

Read the full story.

The Surprising Way This Major Surfing Competition Is Making Composting Mainstream

Rodales Organic Life

Christine Yu

Sports events are starting to play a huge role in keeping the planet healthy.

Photo Credit: World Surf Leagues

Photo Credit: World Surf Leagues

Along the side of the dirt road at Waihuena Farms, this small-scale organic farm on the North Shore of Oahu is making what one of its farmers calls, “boutique, artisan compost.” Using a Japanese composting technique called bokashi, staff and volunteers mix food waste with a brew of microorganisms, pickling the food and creating a potent fertilizer that feeds the farm’s plant beds.

But the organic waste isn’t just scraps from the farm and landscapers around the island. In November and December, over 3,000 pounds comes from the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, a premier three-event series of professional surf competitions that draws tens of thousands of people to the North Shore every year. The City and County lifeguards of Honolulu estimate that on competition days, an average of 25,000 people can pack the beach to watch the world’s best surfers in action.

However, the increase in visitors also brings a surge in trash, putting a strain on the island’s waste management system and natural resources.

Waihuena Farms is part of a unique partnership between Vans and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, a local grassroots nonprofit organization, to decrease the impact of the Triple Crown on the island state and the environment. “Our goal is always to leave no footprint behind,” says Kim Matsoukas, Senior Manager for Sustainability and Social Responsibility for Vans.

Through a full-scale waste management system, they divert approximately 65 percent of overall waste from the Triple Crown away from landfills and incinerators a year, an increase from 29 percent in 2013.

During the competition period, Sustainable Coastlines sets up bins on the beach and regularly sorts and empties the trash. To encourage people to sort their trash into the proper waste stream, the bins are clearly labeled—recycle, compost, and trash. All approved caterers and food vendors don’t sell single-use plastic bottles and are required to use compostable plates and utensils.

 Then, the utensils, napkins, food containers, and food waste are collected and taken to Waihuena Farms, chipped down, and added to the compost piles and into the garden. “This is where Ke Nui Kitchen sources a lot of their food, which they then feed back to the competitors at the Vans Triple Crown,” says Kahi Pacarro, Executive Director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii. Even the cardboard from the events are used as weed mats on the farm to kill weeds and prep the soil for planting. Plus, since there are no commercial composting facilities on Oahu, the partnership helps return some of the natural resources back to the island.

Kansas City Chiefs “Go Nuts” Over a Compostable Peanut Bag

Press Release
Aramark, Kansas City Chiefs, BASF, Hampton Farms

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First-of-its-kind environmentally friendly packaging for peanuts debuts at Arrowhead Stadium

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Arrowhead Stadium vendors will begin selling compostable peanut bags to fans in the Chiefs Kingdom on Nov 26.

KANSAS CITY, MO, and PHILADELPHIA, PA, November 14, 2017 – Football season is in full swing and the Kansas City Chiefs are going the extra yard by scoring a major victory for the environment. Thanks to a collaboration between BASF, Aramark and Hampton Farms, Arrowhead Stadium will become the first-ever professional sports venue to sell a pre-packed compostable peanut bag.

The compostable peanut bag is part of the Chiefs’ environmental initiative, “Extra Yard for the Environment,” which is designed to devise and implement new green policies for the Chiefs, while also raising awareness for sustainability efforts at Arrowhead Stadium. Debuting at the November 26th game, the compostable peanut bag will be sold throughout general concessions and in-seat vending, with the goal of expanding to other areas of Arrowhead Stadium following the pilot phase.
Why the need for a compostable peanut bag?

Snack food packaging comes in many different forms. With more than 15,000 bags of peanuts sold in concessions at Arrowhead Stadium each year, the Chiefs approached Aramark, the team’s general concessionaire, about finding ways to further advance the “Extra Yard for the Environment” program and Arrowhead’s waste-diversion methods.

When it comes to selling peanuts, Aramark’s roots run deep. The company’s founder began selling peanuts out of his car in 1932, laying the foundation for what would eventually become snack vending. Aramark now sells more than 1.1 million bags of peanuts annually at sporting events and, once again, is playing a role in transforming how peanuts are sold.

“With peanuts being among the best-selling snack foods at sports events, the introduction of this compostable peanut bag is a potential game-changer,” said Carl Mittleman, President of Aramark’s Sports and Entertainment division. “As the Chiefs partner and a food and beverage services industry leader, we’re proud to be at the forefront of driving innovative solutions that decrease our environmental impact and enhance the game day experience.”

 

Read the full story here.

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