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Post-game Show

Resource Recycling
By Michelle Lee Guiney

The nine waste sorts to date at Fenway Park in Boston have produced a total 56 percent landfill diversion rate, and one recent effort achieved 76 percent diversion.

The nine waste sorts to date at Fenway Park in Boston have produced a total 56 percent landfill diversion rate, and one recent effort achieved 76 percent diversion.

Each day, the United State generates a little under 1 million tons of waste, according to a report last year from the Environmental Research and Education Foundation (EREF). Based on 2013 waste data, EREF estimated the U.S. recycles 21 percent of its discards, composts 6 percent and sends 9 percent to energy recovery, meaning the country incinerates or buries around 222 million tons of material annually.

Clearly, Americans need fresh pathways to keep materials out of the waste stream. And despite lacking sexy, high-tech appeal, there is one solution that can hit a grand slam when it comes to recovering a high percentage of recyclables: manual sortation at the hundreds of major sporting and entertainment events that take place around the U.S. daily.

Just ask facilities managers at Fenway Park, the historic home of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox. The team has been pushing into exciting territory on the waste issue since the summer of 2016 with its concessions partner Aramark Corporation as well as with Waste Management, the exclusive hauler for the Boston Red Sox, and G Force Waste Sorters. Together, these entities have worked to establish a system that employs sorting staff to separate recoverable materials from trash during stadium cleanup after select games and concerts held at Fenway.

Through the nine sorts that have occurred so far, the collaborators have sorted 31,057 pounds of trash and recovered 17,402 pounds for recycling and composting to yield a 56 percent overall landfill waste diversion rate for the sorted stream. The procedure has become increasingly efficient over time, and the approach can serve as a template for other venues around the country.

Eclipsing 75 percent diversion

To push forward the waste diversion program at Fenway Park, select games and concerts have been chosen over the last year to serve as pilot efforts. These pilot project sorts have allowed stakeholders to learn how to deal with logistical challenges, such as limited sorting space, complicated loading docking access, weather-related issues and coordinating needs when multiple events occur at the park simultaneously.

Not surprisingly, improvements have been implemented along the way, and one recent sort achieved a 76 percent landfill diversion rate for materials generated by event attendees. Jonathan Lister, senior director of Fenway Park Facilities Management and board member for G Force Waste Sorters, encapsulates the enthusiasm of all partners involved: “This is an All-Star team and post-game waste sorting is the MVP.”

How exactly does the operation unfold on days when the waste-sort team is deployed?

After the mass exodus from Fenway of roughly 40,000 fans, a massive cleanup project ensues. Aramark heads the army of permanent and temporary staff who work through the night to restore the venue to a clean condition. On the waste front, loads of collected trash are weighed and then dumped in a designated sorting area managed by G Force Waste Sorters.

Four to six sorters are assigned to six-foot-long tables and have multiple carts behind them for separating materials. Once carts are filled, sorters log the weight and material type of each cart and then proceed to the loading dock to empty the cart into the correct compactor. Around 20 sorters repeat this procedure throughout the evening, filling hundreds of carts until all trash is sorted. Clearly, it’s a tedious effort, but it has helped highlight just how much work it takes to ensure proper diversion of materials within a large event setting. And the process has the potential for big payoffs.

Venues like Fenway can easily accumulate 10 tons of trash alone in just a few hours. A rough calculation by G Force Waste Sorters has determined that if all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums across the country were able to divert 76 percent of their fan-generated waste for all their games, more than 18,000 tons of recyclable and organic material would be recovered annually.

Read the full story here.

Phoenix, Arizona: Diamondbacks Sprout Vertical Garden

By BioCycle
Composting Roundup

Diamondbacks’ food waste composting and vertical garden Photo by Taylor Jackson/Arizona Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks’ food waste composting and vertical garden
Photo by Taylor Jackson/Arizona Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks, a Major League Baseball team, installed a vertical urban garden that is using compost produced from its fledgling organics diversion program.

Funded by UnitedHealthcare and designed by Flower Street Urban Gardens, the garden’s 180 square feet of vertically hanging planting space just outside the main ballpark gates contains up to 200 assorted herbs, including basil, chives, lavender, oregano and rosemary. Diamondbacks’ concessionaire Levy Restaurants collaborated with the team to choose herbs that can be integrated into its menus. Excess produce is donated to local organizations, such as St. Vincent de Paul.

“The vertical garden has been a wish list item for some time,” explains Graham Rossini, Vice President of Special Projects for the team. “We were finally able to engage a couple of partners to bring in the resources.” UnitedHealthcare is using the garden as a tool to teach healthy eating and demonstrate a growing system that can be installed at home. It sponsors dedicated events to bring youth and school group tours to the ballpark.

Soil amendments for the garden are produced in part from the preconsumer food waste that the Diamondbacks began diverting this season. Over the first 48 home games, the club and its hauler Waste Management have diverted more than 18 tons to GRO-WELL, a Phoenix area composting facility. Based on the year-to-date tonnage, Rossini expects 35 tons will be diverted before the end of the season. “Our primary focus has been on back-of-house kitchen and prep areas to ensure a clean stream of organic materials,” he says. “With success in the more controlled locations, we’ve expanded collection to [kitchens and prep areas in] select concessions stands and subcontractors and will continue to grow as quickly as possible.”

The Diamondbacks and Levy Restaurants have donated over 6 tons of unused concessions’ food to Phoenix’s Church on the Street so far this season, which equates to approximately 10,000 individual meals to those in need.

Read the full highlight here.

Memorial Stadium Works to Improve Sustainability Efforts

By Jenna Puritz, KOMU

2017.08.31-NewsFeed-MO Memorial Coliseum-IMAGE

As a member of the Green Sports Alliance, the athletic department at the University of Missouri is working to improve sustainability efforts.

The events manager for the athletics department said the biggest focus is educating fans and making sure they’re aware of the sustainability efforts and that fans are contributing as well.

“We want people to have to make that choice, so you see a recycle or trash bin and you have to say ‘I have this plastic bottle, and I’m going to choose to put it in one of those bins’,” Tony Wirkus said.

MU researchers released a study today on how much waste is created at Memorial Stadium.

Ron McGarvey, an assistant professor of industrial engineering and public affairs at MU, lead a team of students and other researchers.

“Auditing involves actually setting up a table in the parking lot and tearing open the bag and seeing what you find inside,” McGarvey said. “Whenever we opened a bag we had scales nearby and we would weigh the composition of the bag.”

McGarvey and Wirkus are working toward a broader initiative called “zero-waste.”

According to McGarvey, zero-waste is 90 percent of all the waste that’s diverted away from landfills. In order to determine this waste, people need to know the composition of the waste first, which is what McGarvey’s team did by digging through the waste.

“We examined not only the waste coming out of the stadium, but also we went to the food preparation facility where all the food for the stadium is prepared,” McGarvey said.

The team spent the days leading up to games at the food preparation site, and then audited the waste coming out of the stadium after the games.

McGarvey and Wirkus both said it’s a lengthy process that will take several steps to accomplish the zero-waste goal.

“A big portion of that is fan education,” Wirkus said. “We can put all the recycling containers out there and give out all the blue bags of recycling that we want, but ultimately we need to get the fans coming to the games to buy into that and choose to recycle.”

See the full story here.

 

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