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Waste Not
Green Sports Alliance Launches Playbook to Help Sports Venues Divert Food Waste from Landfills

Venues with proper composting infrastructure can utilize the playbook to prevent plastic and organic waste from accumulating in landfills. Future editions will further explore how to expand venue logistics to implement comprehensive zero-waste programs.

This week, the Green Sports Alliance (GSA) — a nonprofit on a mission to inspire professional sports leagues, sports-governing bodies, colleges, teams, venues, their partners and millions of fans to embrace more sustainable practices — released the Food Waste Diversion and Compostable Packaging Playbook, supported by its Corporate Membership Network and member NatureWorks.

The purpose of the playbook is to address how certified compostable food serviceware and packaging can play a vital role in facilitating organic waste diversion from sports venues from landfills to composting facilities.

“The Green Sports Alliance is excited to join forces with our Corporate Member Network to provide this valuable resource to our members as we promote more sustainable practices throughout the sports industry,” said Green Sports Alliance Board Chair Scott Jenkins. “This playbook provides an important tool to accelerate zero-waste initiatives as part of our Play to Zero initiative.”

In a list of 80+ solutions for combating climate change, Project Drawdown’s 2020 Review cited food-waste reduction as the number-one solution — dramatically reducing food waste has the potential to draw 87 gigatons of CO2 out of the atmosphere. Venues and stadiums with proper industrial composting infrastructure can utilize the new playbook to begin preventing single-use plastic and organic waste from accumulating in landfills and further efforts in greenhouse gas reduction.

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The Playbook examines case studies from six other sporting events and arenas, including:

  • The Minnesota Twins at Target Field’s switch to compostables resulted in 70 percent waste diversion

  • Penn State’s Beaver Stadium suites’ switch to certified compostable food serviceware led to 100 percent food waste-to-landfill diversion

  • Lessons learned from WM Sports and Entertainment Division’s efforts to capture organic waste at the WM Phoenix Open & MetLife Stadium

“With the help from our partners including the Green Sports Alliance and NatureWorks, implementing high-quality compostable products was critical in our achievement of a 100 percent waste diversion in the Beaver Stadium suite sections,” said Judd Michael, Professor at Penn State University. “We hope that schools across the globe can use our case study in this Playbook to begin implementing sustainable practices, too.”

Future editions of the playbook will further explore how to expand venue logistics to implement a successful and comprehensive zero-waste program to advance decarbonization goals.

The Playbook is recognized by AgRecycle, EcoProducts, Max-R, NatureWorks and WM — all companies whose products and services can play a role in helping sporting organizations achieve zero-waste goals.

“NatureWorks is proud to continue its 10-year partnership with the Green Sports Alliance and support the creation of this important guide to compostable packaging and food waste diversion,” said Matt Romberger, VP of Sales and Marketing. When compostable biomaterial is used to divert food waste from landfills, we significantly reduce key drivers of climate change and produce valuable soil amendment that sequesters carbon from the atmosphere — protecting our ability to live, work, and play for future generations.”

While Green Sports Alliance sets to work on organic waste, it has begun working to eliminate plastic waste at sporting events, as well — and more and more sports teams are also getting on the ball:

  • For the 2021 season, the Washington Nationals partnered with Sestra Systems on a no-touch, smart condiment-dispensing solution that was not only COVID-safe — it was projected to eliminate the use and disposal of over 5,000,000 plastic ketchup packets.

  • Also in 2021, Liverpool Football Club teamed up with SC Johnson to create a closed-loop recycling model for the more than 500,000 plastic bottles used at the team’s Anfield Stadium each season.

  • For Super Bowl 2022, Ball Corporation teamed up with Bud Light and the LA RamsSoFi Stadium to supply collectible aluminum cups for both the big game and affiliated events around LA.