The NFL has joined the Green Sports Alliance as a league member in an effort to support sustainability efforts across the NFL as a whole. Several NFL teams and venues have been members of the alliance for years – now, the league is formally pledging its commitment to environmental stewardship and engagement, and could save substantial sums of money in the process, the Green Sports Alliance says.
The NFL’s first environmental initiative at a major sporting event took place at Super Bowl XXVIII in 1994 in Atlanta, with a pilot recycling program. Since then, the league’s sustainability efforts have included extensive recovery projects for both prepared food and event materials, the use of green energy to power signature events, public E-waste recycling events in partnership with league sponsor Verizon, and more.
Most recently, the NFL debuted a collaborative effort during Super Bowl LII, aiming for zero waste at US Bank Stadium in Minnesota. Called Rush2Recycle, the project was a partnership among the NFL, PepsiCo, Aramark, US Bank Stadium, and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, and endeavored to recover more than 90% of the waste generated during the game. Ultimately, the program successfully recovered 91% of all the trash. Nearly 63 tons of the 69 tons of gameday waste were recovered through recycling or donation for reuse (62%) and composting (29%), according to the NFL.
Other NFL sustainability measures include Levi’s Stadium, which sports a 27,000-square-foot green roof and an elaborate system for stormwater management, and Mercedes Benz stadium, which was built with an eye to achieving LEED Platinum certification.
Launched in 2011, the Green Sports Alliance has grown to nearly 600 sports teams and venues from 15 different sports leagues and 14 countries. With the support of the Green Sports Alliance and its partners, members are reducing waste, conserving energy and water, and eliminating toxic chemicals. In addition to integrating sustainability into their core operations, members are “saving substantial sums of money in the process,” the Alliance says.
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.