By CU Boulder
Cup will debut Sept. 7, significantly reduce gameday plastic use
Ball, a leader in cutting-edge sustainable beverage packaging, designed the aluminum cups in response to growing consumer preference for more sustainable products. The CU Athletic Department, which debuted the first NCAA Division I athletics sustainability program in 2008, will be the first collegiate venue in the nation to introduce the aluminum cups to sports fans.
“Ball and CU have a long history together, and we’re proud to team up with them to pioneer sustainable solutions in our industries,” said John A. Hayes, Ball’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “With CU’s commitment to sustainability, the university is the ideal partner for piloting our new aluminum cup at the collegiate level. Sports fans are becoming more mindful about the impact their everyday choices have on the environment, and we’re excited to offer them the opportunity to enjoy their favorite beverage at the game in our infinitely recyclable aluminum cup.”
The partnership between the two sustainability leaders is part of Ball’s recently launched pilot program, which will produce a limited supply of aluminum cups through 2020 to meet current customer demand from major sports and entertainment venues seeking to replace plastic cups.
At CU, the move will significantly reduce plastic use in the stadium this season, with the university’s goal of becoming plastic-free in sports venues by 2020.
“As an Athletic Department and university, we are proud of all we have done thus far and will continue to do in reducing our carbon footprint,” said CU Athletic Director Rick George. “We are thrilled to partner with Ball on this important project. Being conscious of the environment is not only the right thing to do, it sets an example for our fans and everyone else watching that they should make sustainable choices, too.”
Since debuting Ralphie’s Green Stampede in 2008, CU became the first major college sports program to implement a zero waste program in all gameday venues. The CU Environmental Center, which founded the nation’s first student-led collegiate recycling program in the 1970s, operates the gameday recycling system. That effort netted a 91.82 percent recycling rate at Folsom Field in 2018, leading all Pac-12 campuses. The addition of the Ball cup will contribute to raising that collection rate even higher.
In 2016, a major athletics facilities upgrade achieved LEED Platinum certification from the United States Green Building Council thanks in part to a net-zero-energy Indoor Practice Facility that boasts an 850-kilowatt rooftop solar array.
Earlier this year, CU Athletics became the first university in the nation to sign the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework, joining other adopters such as the New York Yankees, NBA and Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. The agreement requires entities to reduce climate impact and promote responsible and sustainable consumption.
The Athletic Department’s commitment is aligned with campus sustainability values as well. Just this week, the university’s College of Engineering and Applied Science announced that the Engineering Center will become the first academic building on campus to be entirely plastic-free for single-use beverages. And in early 2018, the university joined 12 other major research universities as founding members of the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3), which has committed to mobilize members’ collective resources and expertise to accelerate local and regional climate action in partnership with businesses, cities and states.
Ball and CU hope that the new aluminum cup will inspire good recycling habits and bring more fans out to games.
Ball’s research shows that 67 percent of U.S. consumers say they will visit a venue more often if they use aluminum cups instead of plastic and that 78 percent of consumers expect beverage brands to use environmentally friendly containers in the next five years.
Infinitely recyclable and economically valuable, aluminum is the most sustainable packaging material, and like aluminum cans, aluminum cups can be easily recycled. In fact, 75 percent of the aluminum ever produced is still in use today. In addition to its sustainability and recycling strengths, the aluminum cup is sturdy, durable and cool to the touch. It also can be customized with logos and graphics.