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Q&A with Bradley Vogel, Sustainability Coordinator, U.S. Bank Stadium

In advance of Super Bowl LII, the Alliance caught up with Bradley Vogel, Sustainability Coordinator at the host venue, U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.

Alliance: U.S. Bank Stadium is one of the newest venues in the country.  Why is sustainability so important to your organization, and what are some things we might not know about your sustainability operations?

BV: Sustainability was a key consideration in the design, construction, and operation phases of the life of the stadium. In the Minneapolis/Saint Paul market, there is a large drive from the state and local government to engage in sustainable operations. The stadium partners also understand that we have a large platform to drive positive environmental change, and with events like the X-games, Super Bowl, and the NCAA Final Four, we realize that we have a large opportunity to engage and encourage fans and staff to think more sustainably in their day-to-day lives. The stadium is exploring all options to mitigate its carbon footprint in the following areas: transportation, energy use, water use, and waste management.

Alliance: One element of your sustainability work that stands out is your pursuit of/classification as a zero waste venue?

BV: Yes. Since July 2016, U.S. Bank Stadium has managed to increase its diversion rate from 20% up to 83% at our most recent event, the NFL Vikings/Saints playoff game on January 14, 2018. It is our goal to achieve the zero-waste mark for the Super Bowl, as well as continue to meet that goal for all major events moving forward.

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Alliance: Signage is often a major challenge in getting fans to sort their waste properly.  Have you had any successes in getting/using messaging, signage, or other fan education tools to help promote better waste practices and decrease your contamination rates?

BV: We have partnered with a non-profit called Recycle Across America (RAA) for our waste signage in the facility. This organization aims to implement standardized waste signage nationwide, so when people go to different areas of the country, they can see consistent waste signage that will help minimize confusion. For example, the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Airport installed RAA signage, so fans who come to the Super Bowl will see similar signage both at the stadium and at the airport. By partnering with RAA, we hope to continue to educate fans about recycling and composting on a larger scale than just at the stadium. One of our ongoing goals of the operation is to increase and improve the signage and fan communication efforts.

Alliance: Tell us a bit more about your composting program.

BV: Starting in July, with help from our concessionaire Aramark, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and Hennepin County, the stadium implemented a compost program aimed at collecting all food waste and compostable materials. As part of the push to go zero-waste, Aramark switched out most of their food vessels that were not compostable or recyclable except for a few items that do not have compostable or recyclable alternatives. On the back end, we perform a post-event waste sort to ensure that compost is contaminant free, and that all recyclables are recycled. Since July 2017, we have collected more than 77 tons of compostable materials.

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Alliance: What should we look forward to from the U.S. Bank Stadium sustainability team in the coming year?

BV: In the following year, the stadium aims to expand its fan engagement piece of the sustainability program, with hopes of creating a knowledgeable fan base that cannot only support our sustainability initiatives, but can also incorporate some into their daily lives. In addition, the stadium will continue to develop its zero-waste program, with the final goal of becoming an industry leader that others will look to for guidance and support.

Thanks to Bradley and the entire U.S. Bank Stadium team for being leaders in the sports greening movement and demonstrating best practices across the sports industry.

To learn more about the sustainability elements of U.S. Bank Stadium go to: usbankstadium.com/stadium-info/sustainability

NFL, PepsiCo And U.S. Bank Stadium Partners Including Aramark, SMG And The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Team Up To Score First Zero Waste Legacy Project At Super Bowl LII

Aramark

“Rush2Recycle” Will Intercept Waste at U.S. Bank Stadium, Home of the Minnesota Vikings

Image Courtesy of Rush2Recycle.com

Image Courtesy of Rush2Recycle.com

Project Aims to Set New Standard for Recycling and Waste Management at Future Large-Scale Events

The NFL, in partnership with PepsiCo, Aramark, U.S. Bank Stadium and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, today announced Rush2Recycle, a game plan to recover more than 90% – more than 40 tons – of stadium waste at Super Bowl LII on Sunday, Feb. 4. After months of preparation to eradicate trash materials from the stadium, the 90%+ gameday goal will maximize recycling and composting. This zero waste effort aims to leave a positive green legacy at U.S. Bank Stadium and in the Super Bowl host city, and create a playbook for other leagues, teams, site operators and fans to intercept waste in their communities.

On gameday, every chef, custodian and fan will be part of the team working to recover at least 90% of stadium waste by recycling bottles and cans, composting organic materials like food waste and service ware, and repurposing items like discarded handbags, signage and construction materials through local community organizations. Rush2Recyle staff will encourage stadium fans to recycle and compost. Through this process, stadium partners introduced a tri-bin waste collection system, invested in a dedicated organics compactor and implemented a detailed post-game waste sort to insure each waste stream is contaminant-free. This work will leave a lasting impact after the final whistle, as the stadium’s waste diversion infrastructure will be permanent installations at U.S. Bank Stadium, helping protect the environment and reduce waste hauling costs.

“The NFL is a responsible steward of the environment in all areas of our business,” said NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. “For 25 years, the NFL has strived to reduce the environmental impact of its events and leave a positive green legacy in host communities. Through this project, the League and its partners hope to set a new standard of environmental sustainability at the Super Bowl.”

The effort will also engage fans nationwide, inviting them to join the Rush2Recycle team and providing tips to recycle more and intercept waste at Super Bowl parties and year-round. PepsiCo and the Rush2Recycle ambassador – Super Bowl XL MVP and Pittsburgh Steelers Legend HINES WARD – are launching a social media campaign to showcase recycling MVPs across the country, and inspire fans to tackle waste in their communities. Ward will be sharing his own recycling end zone dance, the Rush2Recyle Shuffle, which will be made available at www.Rush2Recycle.com, along with tips and other resources.

Read the full story.

USC Wins Pac-12 Zero Waste Competition

Daily Trojan
By 

USC Coliseum

The Pac-12 Conference office announced Wednesday that USC was selected as the overall winner of the 2017 Football Zero Waste Competition.

For the competition, every Pac-12 university took part in diverting the most waste from the landfill at a predetermined football and men’s basketball game during the Fall 2017 season.

Sustainability advocates Bill Walton, Graham Oberly and Mike Carey selected the winners for the categories. Each school was evaluated on a summary scorecard detailing its efforts during the Zero Waste game.

Last October’s USC vs. Utah game was selected for evaluation. With a 90.96 percent gameday waste diversion rate, USC won first place.

Aside from choosing the overall winner, Pac-12 determined which institution utilized the most innovative methods to expand sustainability education efforts. Three other universities were also selected as winners for three subcategories, including fan engagement, most improved and student-athlete engagement.

During the Utah game, attendees were invited to engage in an interactive tailgate, giveaways, flash mobs, a live trumpet brigade and confetti cannons.

Recycle Man, a mascot who sported a green mask and an outfit bearing the recycling symbol, encouraged fans to partake in a bean bag toss. The toss had the attendees sort food waste and recyclables into the proper bins and educated attendees on sustainable habits.

Read the full story.

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