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Blog Archives

“Waste Not” proves to be a winning formula for Ohio State: BTN LiveBIG

Big Ten Network
By John Tolley

Image Source: Ohio State University. Photo by Kevin Fitzsimons, The Ohio State University

Image Source: Big Ten Network, Ohio State University. Photo by Kevin Fitzsimons, The Ohio State University

Ah, the sights and sounds of a college football game: the roar of cheering fans, the quarterback’s calls, the precision formation of that big brass band, the face paint, the foam fingers, the… garbage.

Yes, of course, for all the fun, live sporting events are a messy affair. At the end of the day, trashcans overflow with nacho trays and discarded programs, the seats and aisles are littered with peanut shells and sticky soda cups and the municipal dump groans under the weight of another heavy load.

But this common scenario could soon be a thing of the past thanks to a nationwide initiative called the GameDay Recycling Challenge. The program pits colleges and universities across the US against each other in an effort to see which school can reduce, recycle or otherwise divert the largest amount of their stadium waste away from landfills.

For the sixth consecutive year, The Ohio State University has led the Big Ten in the competition, diverting the largest single-game amount of waste in 2017 with 94.2 percent of stadium refuse kept out of the dump.

Speaking to the Ohio State news service, Tony Gillund, sustainability manager for Ohio State’s Facilities Operations and Development (FOD), says that the GameDay Challenge is indicative of the Buckeyes’ larger commitment to reducing their ecological footprint.

“We are proud that the efforts of our zero-waste team continue to deliver positive results,” said Gillund. “Sustainability is a focus campus-wide as we work toward our university goals, including achieving zero waste on campus by 2025.”

At Ohio Stadium, a variety of steps, from maximizing compostable and recyclable materials used to installing zero waste stations, have been taken to ensure that the lowest amount of refuse possible is sent to area landfills. During games, 35 area high school students are employed to educate fans about how to properly dispose of their trash. Afterwards, the Ohio State Navy ROTC combs the stands collecting and sorting the detritus.

Read the full story.

Zero Waste at Michigan Stadium

Michigan Athletics

2017 Recap of Waste Diversion at Michigan Stadium

2018.02.14-Michigan Stadium Waste-IMAGE

Photo Source: Michigan Athletics

After joining a University of Michigan sustainability initiative in 2015, U-M Athletics reached the industry standard for zero waste with over a 90 percent diversion rate during the Rutgers game. For the season Michigan averaged a diversion rate of 88.17 percent.

2018.02.14-Michigan Stadium Waste-IMAGE

Image Source: Zero Waste at Michigan State

Game Day Efforts at Michigan Stadium

  • New Signage: In the summer of 2017, the U-M athletic department worked with the Office of Campus Sustainability on campus to create new signage that fit the Planet Blue branding staff and students see all across campus.
  • Compost: Nearly all food and beverage containers were compostable in 2017.
  • Recycling: Fans once again had the option to purchase souvenir concession items that were recyclable along with water bottles and plastic containers.

The new signage was placed on every waste win and on walls or posts throughout the concourse and inside the stadium suites to help educate fans on where to place their waste items.

A complete list of products and which category they fall under can be found here.

The waste totals for each game were based on waste collected inside the stadium gates only. Waste collected outside the stadium did not factor in to the yearly totals.

Where does the waste go?
Bags of waste are collected throughout the game and taken to dumpsters located in the corners of the stadium. On the Sunday mornings following each home game, a cleanup crew comes in and sorts the remaining waste items in the stadium bowl before it is all hauled off to centers for compost, recycling or landfill.

Sunday Morning Clean ups

Cleanup Crew: Over 400 volunteers from Father Gabriel Richard High School meet at Michigan Stadium. The volunteers check in and collect various items such as leafblowers, rakes, brooms and trash bags to clean the stadium bowl. Informational tables are set up on the concourse to educate the volunteers on which items are compostable, recyclable or landfill.

Read the full Photo Recap and Press Release.

One-on-one: Mike Gomes, Senior Vice President of Fan Experience at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Stadia Magazine

2018.02.13-Mercedes-Benz Fan Experience-IMAGE

Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Photo Source: Stadia Magazine

When Mercedes-Benz Stadium became the new home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS side Atlanta United in 2017, not only did it showcase a ground-breaking design, it also introduced a novel food and beverage initiative to raise fan satisfaction.

In 2017 Mercedes-Benz Stadium (MBS) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, became the new home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS side Atlanta United. Not only did the US$1.6bn stadium showcase ground-breaking design such as its retractable roof, but a novel food and beverage initiative was introduced in an effort to raise fan satisfaction.

Fan First pricing saw the cost of favorite items slashed by 50%, yet despite lowering prices the MBS witnessed average fan spend and consumption both increase and its F&B ranking from fans raise from 18th in 2016 to first in 2017. Behind the new fan fare, Mike Gomes, senior vice president of fan experience at Mercedes-Benz stadium, spoke to Stadia about how the F&B offering went down.

Tell us how the Fan First program originated … 
If you look at fan feedback from research you notice that food and beverage is one of the most important factors [on game day], however we noticed the industry as a whole doesn’t perform well in terms of value, while quality and variety also isn’t great, plus fans are having to wait too long in line. This was the genesis of how we looked at food and beverage differently.

Before we ever broke ground on the new stadium we knew we wanted to introduce this. Owner and chairman Arthur Blank said, “We’re going to lower food so it’s fair for fans and family”.

So, in May 2016 we announced Fan First pricing where fan favorite food items would be sold at different prices: US$2 for hotdogs, pretzels, fries, and pizza, a US$2 refillable soda – more than a 50% decrease in prices from the Georgia Dome and more than 50% less than other stadiums charge.

How did the fans react? 
We’re seeing a much higher consumption model. By the end of the first quarter of an NFL game we’re seeing as much consumption as we used to see in a total game at the Georgia Dome. That’s approximately 140,000 units of food and beverage. Fans are buying more.

Whereas before fans would have to choose between this or that, now they can [buy] this and that. At the end of our first NFL and soccer season [at the stadium] we are number one in the league in all of the important metrics: food and beverage, quality, variety, speed of service, and value – so the fans have reacted very positively.

Read the full story.

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