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Blog Archives

American Football Colleges Battle it Out for Recycling Title

Climate Action

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Image Source: Climate Action

American football is known to be fiercely competitive on the field, but a new recycling challenge has been able to direct that rivalry off the field towards sustainability.

The GameDay Recycling Challenge was set up by conservation charities and the US Environmental Protection Agency to engage American football fans in a game of recycling.

The challenge involved 70 colleges and universities from across the United States, and reached an estimated 8.7 million fans at 181 games throughout 2017.

The Keep America Beautiful charity, which helped organise the competition, reported that these colleges helped recycle over 1.5 million pounds of material on game days during the autumn season. This helped prevent the release of 2,410 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Clemson University, in the state of South Carolina, were crowned national champions with 98,521 pounds of material recycled, composted or donated. The university also won last year’s same competition.

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Eagles & Pats: Head-to-Head for Eco-Cred

Environmental Leader
by Alyssa Danigelis

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Gillette Stadium (left) and Lincoln Financial Field (right). Credit: Gillette Stadium on Facebook and Lincoln Financial Field on Facebook

The New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles face off Sunday at the LEED Gold-certified US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII. But how do the teams’ home stadiums stack up environmentally? Let’s find out.

Gillette Stadium

Home of the New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium began welcoming fans in 2002, replacing the old Foxborough Stadium in Massachusetts. The Kraft Group privately financed construction for $325 million and ISO 14001-certified Skanska USA Building Inc. won the contract.

The stadium project had multi-stakeholder involvement in order to achieve a sustainable building, both in its construction and operation, according to a Skanska case study sustainability from May 2008.

Features:

  • Restoration of a diverted river to a free-flowing natural river bed seeded with flora to attract wildlife
  • During construction, over 130,000 cubic yards of blasted open rock was processed and reused on the site
  • A wastewater system with an onsite wastewater treatment facility that reuses graywater for thousands of toilets in the building, saving millions of gallons of water each year
  • Energy-efficient hand dryers replaced paper towels for the stadium’s bathrooms in 2009, saving nearly 6.3 million paper towels and more than $50,000 annually, according to Excel Dryer
  • Timing devices in the electrical distribution system that automatically shut down non-essential lighting after hours

The 1.3 million-square-foot area Patriot Place, which includes a hotel, restaurants, and shopping, opened adjacent to the stadium in the fall of 2008. A megawatt solar installation currently provides 60% of Patriot Place’s electricity with an annual output of 1.1 million kilowatt hours, according to the Kraft Group.

In the second quarter of 2017, Patriot Place conserved: 206,694 kWh of electricity, 571 mature trees, 332,920 gallons of water, 477 cubic yards of landfill airspace, and 232 metric tons of GHG emissions.

Lincoln Financial Field

Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, opened in Philadelphia in 2003, replacing Veterans Stadium. Construction cost $520 million at the time and environmental considerations were there from the start. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and his wife Christina Weiss Lurie established the Go Green sustainability program in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council in 2003. What began as a push to increase desk-side recycling has evolved into an all-encompassing environmental strategy across the team’s operations.

Features:

  • 100% of the team’s operations are powered by renewables, including 11,108 solar panels and 14 wind turbines installed around the field that produce 4 MW annually
  • The team installed a biodigester to decompose pre-consumer food waste that can process 330 pounds daily
  • Every year the Eagles recycle more than 850 tons of material from the stadium
  • Converted to 100% post-consumer recycled paper, savings of 10 tons of paper annually
  • More than 99% of the waste generated at the stadium is diverted from landfills
  • Invested in Orbio technology to produce a nontoxic cleaning and de-greasing agent from salt, reclaimed water, and electricity rather than using chemicals
  • Installed aerators that cut urinal water use in half
  • All of the Eagles’ RFPs mandate that vendors propose green-certified materials as standards, NRDC noted

“The grass clippings from the field are composted. Old cooking oil and grease are converted into biodiesel, which is brought back to power the stadium’s lawn mowers. Leftovers from the kitchen are donated to local shelters, and food waste is composted,” the Los Angeles Times reported in 2011. “If the team replaces a carpet, the contractor must explain how the old carpet will be recycled and specify how much recycled material is in the new one.”

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USC Wins Pac-12 Zero Waste Competition For Second Year

USC News
by Ian Chaffee

The Pac-12 announced that USC was the member university that diverted the most waste from the landfill during a game last fall. (USC Photo/Michael Owen Baker)

The Pac-12 announced that USC was the member university that diverted the most waste from the landfill during a game last fall. (USC Photo/Michael Owen Baker)

As the players on USC’s football team claimed possession of the Pac-12 crown in 2017, the fans living and dying with those Trojans during fall Saturdays at the Coliseum were doing their part to hold on to a championship of their own.

Last week, the Pac-12 Conference officially announced USC as Zero Waste Competition champions for the second consecutive year. Despite the Pac-12 also calling the competition the “Zero Waste Bowl,” this wasn’t quite like those games that cap each college football season.

However, the accomplishment might be even more impressive than winning one of those vaunted January games because of what it says about the victors as stewards of the planet.

The “Zero Waste Bowl” is a competition between every Pac-12 institution that determines which member university diverted the most waste from the landfill at a selected football and men’s basketball game, as well as which used the most innovative methods to expand reach and impact of sustainability education efforts.

Each school is then judged on a summary scorecard describing the efforts involved in the “zero waste” football and basketball games that they submitted. These games are scored in three different categories: participation rate, overall innovation, and most importantly, the actual rate of waste diversion itself.

The judges’ panel that awarded USC the championship included conference representative, basketball legend and longtime sustainability enthusiast Bill Walton; Graham Oberly, sustainability coordinator at The Ohio State University; and Mike Carey, sustainability coordinator at Orange Coast College.

The winning entry submitted by the team from USC Sustainability was for the Oct. 14, 2017 football game against Utah, where a 90.96 percent diversion rate was achieved by fans and crew at the Coliseum. Fans at the game were encouraged to participate through promotional activities like an interactive tailgate, giveaways, flash mobs, a live trumpet brigade, confetti cannons and a “green game mascot” named “Recycle Man” who educated fans on the best methods of sustainable waste disposal and other sustainability best practices.

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