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NFL and Verizon to Leave “Green” Legacy at 2018 Draft

2018.04.19-NFL Green Draft Legacy-IMAGE

Continuing a tradition of leaving a positive green legacy in host communities, the NFL is incorporating sustainability elements and activities at the 2018 NFL Draft. Recycling, food recovery and material reuse will lighten the environmental impact of Draft activities and urban and community forestry projects will leave a permanent “green” legacy in North Texas.

At the NFL Draft Experience, located at AT&T Stadium, waste will be diverted through recycling and composting. Volunteers from nearby University of Texas at Arlington will help fans put food waste, cans and bottles in the correct containers to keep items out of local landfills. Extra prepared food from NFL events will be collected in partnership with the Tarrant Area Food Bank and the Salvation Army. This food will then be distributed to local residents in need.

Event materials including fabric, vinyl, mesh, building materials, supplies and carpeting will be collected and distributed for reuse in partnership with a local network of municipal and nonprofit agencies. Some items will be reused as is while other material will be either auctioned to raise funds or repurposed into items for sale or donation.

Three tree planting projects are being funded through grants from the NFL and NFL sponsor Verizon to leave a permanent green footprint in North Texas.

On Monday, April 23, several dozen trees will be planted at Brantley Hinshaw Park in Arlington, as part of a project coordinated with the Texas Trees Foundation. Volunteers from Verizon, local school children and Arlington Parks and Recreation employees will come together for the event. Trees will be planted along the park’s walking path to provide much-needed shade for the park’s many patrons.

On Tuesday, April 24, trees will be planted on the campus of Paul Quinn College as part of the college’s urban farm. More than three dozen fruit trees will be planted, creating a new fruit orchard on campus. As part of a project with the Texas Trees Foundation, this urban farm provides fresh produce for the entire neighborhood through weekly farmers’ markets held near the college campus. The college also has contracts with several local restaurants that participate in “farm to table” culinary activities. The farm provides training and employment opportunities for students at the college.

A final forestry project will take place in and around Bastrop State Forest – the site of one of Texas’ most destructive wildfires. A designated National Historic Landmark, nearly the entire park (96%) was destroyed in a 2011 wildfire. The NFL, Verizon and the Arbor Day Foundation will plant 1,536 trees during Draft week. The restoration project will result in six new trees for each of the 256 players who will be welcomed into the NFL during the 2018 NFL Draft.

Renewable energy certificates (RECs) will be used to “green” the electricity used to power NFL Draft activities. These RECs will be sourced from regional Texas wind farms, one of the major sources of renewable energy in the country.

The National Football League has incorporated sustainability practices and projects into the management of its events since 1993 – the first professional sports league to make environmental impact a key part of its event planning process. Verizon became the first NFL sponsor to engage in support of these projects five years ago. Through this important partnership, thousands of new trees have been planted in event host communities, and various community gardens and pollinator habitats have been created. Verizon has also joined with the NFL to collect thousands of pounds of electronic waste (e-waste) from Super Bowl host communities to help people dispose of these items responsibly.

Media Contacts:

Jack Groh, NFL Environmental, jack.groh@nflenvironment.com (401) 952-0886

Wendy Pappas, City of Arlington, Wendy.Pappas@arlingtontx.gov (817) 575-8311

Jeannine Brew, Verizon, Jeannine.Brew@VerizonWireless.com (214) 662-4430

Member Spotlight: University of Texas at Austin

For this month’s Membership Spotlight, we’re going to take a closer look at one of our most accomplished and innovative members—The University of Texas at Austin (Longhorns).  The Longhorns have not only led the way in advancing the sports greening movement in the collegiate sector but have shed light on some new ways to engage stakeholders, students, and sports not traditionally mentioned in the greater sport and sustainability landscape.

2017 was a great year for the Longhorns as they made huge strides in their zero waste program, leading the charge in sustainability around baseball and softball. After successfully achieving zero waste during a “Zero Waste Weekend” series at both sports since 2014, the Longhorns successfully achieved an entire zero waste baseball season at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Lauren Lichterman, Operations and Sustainability Coordinator for Texas Athletics, explained how baseball and softball were a natural fit for sustainability programming and “a great start for best practice development.”

Lauren Lichterman & Bevo the Longhorn

Lauren Lichterman & Hook ‘Em the Longhorn

“Our baseball stadium has a capacity of 7,000 which is comparatively more manageable from a waste standpoint than our 102,000-person football facility,” Lichterman says. “We have the same concessionaire at both facilities and they have done a fantastic job over the years of switching their products to adhere to our zero waste standards. Being able to control the waste stream in this way is crucial to being able to achieve zero waste at any of our facilities.”

Of course, these successes don’t happen overnight, and while programs should strive for zero-waste seasons, patience is important.  It took three years to achieve a zero-waste baseball season according to Lichterman. “We spent three years tweaking the system not only from season-to-season, but also from game-to-game. We worked with all stakeholders from fans to staff to sponsors to operational partners to take advantage of every opportunity to improve.” Creating success stories in sports like baseball and softball can build a proof of concept to legitimize your work, recruit sponsors, and have a functional model for approaching bigger sports like football.

They continued their success in zero waste at Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium during the 2017 football season.  Before the football season began, the school’s sustainability team set out a few goals in their quest achieve zero waste:

  • Figure out a system to sort waste on-site during the game
  • Increase the number of volunteers to help educate fans and sort the waste
  • Create a food recovery program to donate unused food from gameday
  • Develop a communications plan to share our sustainability story

While these weren’t their only goals, putting forth a strategic plan is a wonderful way to organize your stakeholder network around actionable objectives that can help track, measure, and guide your future sustainability efforts.

Their efforts were a smashing success, and they achieved many of their initial objectives, including:

  • Recruiting almost 700 people to donate 2,700 volunteer hours over the course of the season
  • Donating over 3,000 meals to Central Texas families in need through their food recovery program
  • Decreasing landfill waste by over 200,000 pounds
  • Developing a unique social media presence through @TxSportsSustain (twitter) and @bleedorangelivegreen (Instagram).

The Longhorns also increased their overall diversion to about 50%, which is no small feat for a stadium holding over 100,000 fans on any given gameday. They plan to continue their ambitious path towards zero was by targeting a 70% diversion rate next season.

Sustainability Squad at The University of Texas at Austin

Sustainability Squad at The University of Texas at Austin

2018 is sure to be another exciting year for the Longhorns, with ample plans to further expand their sport and sustainability success. Lichterman has taken us behind the curtain about what we may expect in the future, including “creating water and energy conservation programs which aim to close the loop in some of their current operations.”

We’re all thrilled to see these projects develop and support the Longhorns in their pursuit of Zero Waste and achieving other sustainability objectives.

To learn more about their efforts and how to get involved visit:

Videoboard image at a University of Texas at Austin football game during the 2017 season.

Videoboard image at a University of Texas at Austin football game during the 2017 season.

Environment Scores Big Win With Zero-Waste Legacy Project at Super Bowl LII

PepsiCo

Environment scores big win with zero-waste legacy project at Super Bowl LII (PRNewsfoto/PepsiCo)

Environment scores big win with zero-waste legacy project at Super Bowl LII (PRNewsfoto/PepsiCo)

PURCHASE, N.Y.Feb. 22, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The NFL, in partnership with PepsiCo, Aramark, U.S. Bank Stadium, SMG and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, scored a zero-waste legacy project at Super Bowl LII, with 91 percentii of all trash generated on gameday from 67,612 fans responsibly recovered through composting, recycling and reuse. The landmark project marks the highest diversion rate achieved at U.S. Bank Stadium and at any previous Super Bowl, and aims to serve as the benchmark for future large-scale events.

The results are in following the big game: nearly 63 tons of the 69 tons of gameday waste were recovered through recycling or donation for reuse (62 percent) and composting (29 percent). Recovering waste through composting and recycling reduces waste disposal costs and provides several environmental benefits including reduction of landfill use and reduction of the greenhouse gas generated by the landfill process, gasses which contribute significantly to global warming.

“The zero-waste legacy project is a testament to teamwork, with multiple partners coming together to achieve an ambitious environmental goal,” said Director of the NFL’s Environmental Program JACK GROH. “The NFL is proud that this program was not only successful at Super Bowl LII, but will also serve as a permanent installation at the stadium and leave a lasting impact on the community.”

U.S. Bank Stadium partners, including the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, stadium operator SMG, and Aramark, kicked off the effort to achieve a zero-waste operation in 2017, and were joined by the NFL and PepsiCo in the lead-up to Super Bowl LII.

“SMG is always striving to raise industry standards through our operation at U.S. Bank Stadium and our commitment to sustainability is no different. In our first season, we produced a waste diversion rate of 20 percent. Over the course of our second season our team increased that diversion rate to 91 percent,” says PATRICK TALTY, SMG General Manager at U.S. Bank Stadium. “Developing a successful and long-term zero-waste program has always been our goal. The diversion improvement we have seen to date is rare in the world of facility management and is a testament to the dedication of all of our stadium partners.”

“U.S. Bank Stadium’s journey to the zero-waste threshold has been demanding, and we couldn’t have gotten here without the commitment of our stadium partners,” said MICHAEL VEKICH, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, owner of U.S. Bank Stadium. “We look forward to sharing our experiences with other facilities who are interested in this important sustainability program.”

Read the full story.

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