Referee holds up his arms on football field

Super Bowl LII is aiming for an ambitious zero waste goal: They aim to recycle or compost 90% of the estimated 40 tons of solid waste generated at the game.

They’re also doing something I think is even better than that: They’re planning to codify their approach into a manual of zero waste best practices that other major events can follow.

Reading the article about their attempt, the Super Bowl is doing a lot of things right:

  1. They started early (in August 2017) to ensure zero waste strategies were part of the foundation of the event plan
  2. They worked closely with the venue’s food service provider to switch over 70 products into their compostable counterparts
  3. They installed clearly-labeled zero waste stations to help attendees sort waste correctly
  4. They assigned staff to monitor and answer questions about waste sorting

The stadium is already at an 83% waste diversion rate from implementing these changes throughout the season.

I’m incredibly encouraged by the Super Bowl making a serious zero waste attempt at an event of this scale. I’m even more encouraged by the fact they’re doing it an event where people might say it’s impossible, because “sports fans don’t care about the environment.”

The Super Bowl’s program goes to show that sustainable practices can be implemented any event, not just conferences for environmentalists or yoga instructors.

The key is to make the process straightforward enough that it becomes automatic for guests to participate, whether they’re personally concerned about the environment or not. (As I’m sure many sports fans, in fact, are.)

The Super Bowl has released their own website about the initiative, called Rush2Recycle if you want to learn more. Keep an eye out for compostable serviceware when the camera pans the crowd on Sunday!

Can the Big Game score a zero waste success?

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