Eco-Products helped the Minnesota Twins divert 300 tons of trash from landfills last year, turning that Target Field trash into compost, and say they plan to top that number this year. In addition to composting plates, wrappers, cups, trays and food, last year Target Field recycled 464 tons of glass bottles and aluminum cans.
The partnership, which began in 2015, works like this: Eco-Products supplies the compostable cups, plates, trays, utensils and straws at Target Field. Much of the packaging uses a material called Ingeo, a compostable resin made by NatureWorks.
NatureWorks says greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage during the manufacturing process for Ingeo is lower than that of all commonly used plastics.
At Target Field, all plastic bottles and aluminum can be recycled, while all other concessions-related products can be composted. That includes beer cups, soft drink cups, coffee cups, plates, trays, soup cups, spoons, knives, forks, lids and straws.
The stadium has bins for the compostable materials set up around the stadium, side-by-side with recycling bins. Because almost everything is recyclable or compostable, a two-bin solution eliminates the need for landfill bins.
This simplifies things for fans because all plates, utensils and trays can go into the same compostable bin, along with any leftover food.
This year the venue is adding new equipment, improving the sorting bins and providing more training for concession-stand workers.
After each game, workers empty the compost bins and the material is taken to a commercial composting facility. There the stadium’s trash is turned into organic materials such as soil for area farms, gardens and landscapers.
In addition to diverting trash from landfills, composting also supports plant growth and minimizes the need for irrigation and artificial fertilizers.
Diverting waste from landfills is usually a low-hanging fruit for sports venues in terms of reducing their environmental footprint. Improving environmental management can also help these facilities reduce operating costs as well.
Examples include sports and entertainment company AEG, which says using Schneider Electric’s water, waste and electricity management platform has helped AEG save more than $3 million across its 120 global venues.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Atlanta Falcon’s new home that is seeking LEED Platinum certification, expects to save 29 percent in energy usage compared to a typical stadium design and reduce irrigation water use by recapturing water in a 680,000-gallon cistern.
In fact, LEED-certified stadiums increase cost-savings, decrease annual operating costs and see a higher return on investment overall, according to a USGB report released in February.
The report highlights the green building strategies and financial savings of more than 30 LEED-certified venues across the globe. For example, the Orlando Magic’s Amway Center, which is LEED Gold certified, saved almost $1 million a year, including about $700,000 in annual energy costs alone.