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Kansas City Chiefs Debuts Compostable Peanut Bags During Football Game

By Anna Spiewak, BASF Corp.

The new bright red peanut bag designed using certified compostable materials is replacing the standard laminated polypropylene peanut bag currently available at stadiums. (Image courtesy of Amarak)

The new bright red peanut bag designed using certified compostable materials is replacing the standard laminated polypropylene peanut bag currently available at stadiums. (Image courtesy of Amarak)

This article is sponsored by BASF.

It takes a village to make a compostable peanut bag. After all, it took the collaboration of four companies to make it happen: BASF; Hampton Farms; Aramark and the Kansas City Chiefs.

It all started with the professional football team. As an initiative to implement additional sustainability efforts at Arrowhead Stadium, Brandon Hamilton, Kansas City Chiefs vice president of stadium operations, knew a compostable peanut package would get the stadium one step closer towards the Chiefs’ environmental initiative, “Extra Yard for the Environment.”

“As corporate citizens, it is important for us to do our part towards sustainable practices. We all understand the platform we have in professional sports. We have the opportunity to lead by example and be change agents in this industry,” Hamilton told BASF in an exclusive interview. “In looking at our diversion process, there are a couple of obstacles in the way of reaching higher numbers; some items that our concessionaires sell are either not compostable or not recyclable, and the peanut bag is an example of that.”

The trend towards waste reduction is not new. About 32 million pounds of food waste are diverted annually, according to Missouri Organic Recycling, the local Kansas City composter, which is enough to fill 15 football fields 1 foot deep.

Most sports venues today have some sort of recycling or composting programs in place. Providing separate collection bins for fans to dispose their waste is a start. But diverting waste from landfills is where the real benefit comes. Hamilton wanted to be the first. Part of his waste diversion plan was to come up with compostable peanut bags or stop selling them at the stadium altogether.

Read the full story here.

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.

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