The Detroit Lions have partnered with REPREVE, a recycled fiber brand, to launch a sustainability initiative aimed at achieving a 100 percent recycling rate throughout the 2014 NFL season.
The Lions are the first NFL team to join REPREVE’s #TurnItGreen program, which supports stadium-based recycling efforts and a consumer education campaign to encourage fans to recycle bottles during games.
REPREVE transforms plastic bottles into recycled fibers that are used by many major brands, including Ford, Haggar, Polartec, Quiksilver and Volcom. On Wednesday, Aug. 6, the Lions and REPREVE will kick off #TurnItGreen efforts with a training camp takeover at Ford Field.
During practice, the Lions quarterbacks will forgo the traditional red jerseys for REPREVE green jerseys, each made from 21 recycled plastic bottles. Attending fans will receive REPREVE-based #TurnItGreen fan towels made from three recycled bottles along with other REPREVE-based items, including t-shirts and autograph cards.
"This initiative is a reflection of the Ford family's commitment to leading in the area of sustainability," said Detroit Lions Team President Tom Lewand. "As an example, through our partnership with REPREVE, we will be expanding to 500 recycling bins throughout Ford Field, making it easy for fans and guests to 'Make the Smart Throw.' This collaboration with Unifi and REPREVE will also serve as a platform to educate fans about the quality products that can be made from recycled materials, which will help keep plastic bottles from ending up in landfills."
In addition to the REPREVE #TurnItGreen training camp takeover on Aug. 6, the collaboration will include in-stadium activation elements encouraging fans to "Make the Smart Throw" and recycle bottles rather than toss them in the trash. Throughout the season, there will be a series of #TurnItGreen promotions starting with "Play Catch with the Quarterback," where fans will have the opportunity to toss the football with Lions quarterbacks prior to the Aug. 6 practice.
More and more NFL teams are stepping up to their sustainability game, particularly when it comes to waste reduction. This has the double benefit of improving sustainability outcomes in the sports industry (which is a major producer of waste), while also educating and engaging fans to become more sustainable citizens. For instance, in December the Cleveland Browns announced an initiative to divert all stadium food waste away from landfills for conversion by anaerobic digestion into biofuel to power the city. And the San Francisco 49ers announced in June that their new home, Levi’s Stadium, will use 85 percent recycled water for field irrigation, flushing toilets and a cooling tower.