Waste Not
Fans More Likely to Attend Sporting Events When Stadiums Compost and Recycle

A new survey by the Shelton Group found that nearly one-third of Americans would be more likely to attend a game or concert if the stadium recycled and composted, and one in five say they would buy more food and beverages during the event.

A significant number of fans care about the environment, and they’ll vote with their feet - and their beer cups,” said Suzanne Shelton, CEO of the Shelton Group.

A first of its kind, the survey polled 2,015 Americans. When asked “How would you react if you learned that all of the trash left behind after a game or concert you attended was sorted...with recyclables and compostables being diverted away from landfills?”

  • 46 percent said it would improve their opinion of the venue owners.
  • 32 percent said they would be more likely to attend another game or concert at the venue.
  • 22 percent said they would be more likely to buy concessions.
  • 22 percent said it would improve their opinion of the team or band.

As for “How would you react if you learned that all of the trash left behind after a game or concert you attended went straight to a landfill, without any sorting, recycling or composting efforts?”

  • 42 percent said they would blame the venue owners – and it would tarnish their opinion of them.
  • 26 percent said they would be less likely to buy concessions.
  • 17 percent said they would be less likely to attend another game or concert at the venue.

"We have a lot of anecdotal evidence of fans wanting stadiums to do more recycling and composting, but this is the first time we’ve had real data,” said Wendell Simonson, VP of Marketing at Eco-Products, manufacturer of compostable plates, cups and utensils.

According to Shelton, millions of dollars in ticket and concession sales, as well as tons of wasted resources, are at stake. Fans leave an estimated 16 million cubic feet of trash behind every year - enough to fill Yankee Stadium and leave another two million cubic feet of garbage piled up outside. Slowly but surely, stadiums are listening and responding – the MetLife Stadium in New York, which hosted this year’s Super Bowl, was the first to earn the title of Certified Green Restaurant® stadium from the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), with 61 sustainability measures; while last year, the Cleveland Browns announced a new program to divert all stadium food waste away from landfills for conversion by anaerobic digestion into biofuel to power the city.

Apart from waste, resources used to operate the stadiums are also being targeted – the upcoming Levi's Stadium, the new home to the San Francisco 49ers, will use 85 percent recycled water to irrigate the field and a green roof, flush toilets and for the cooling tower make-up water. The stadium will also produce enough solar power to offset the energy demands created from home games.

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