The NFL, in partnership with PepsiCo, Aramark, U.S. Bank Stadium and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, announced Rush2Recycle, a game plan to recover more than 90 percent of stadium waste at Super Bowl LII on Sunday, Feb. 4 — more than 40 tons. After months of preparation to eradicate trash materials from the stadium, the 90-percent-plus gameday goal will maximize recycling and composting.
This zero waste effort aims to leave a positive green legacy at U.S. Bank Stadium and in the Super Bowl host city, and create a playbook for other leagues, teams, site operators and fans to intercept waste in their communities.
On gameday, every chef, custodian and fan will be part of the team working to recover at least 90 percent of stadium waste by recycling bottles and cans, composting organic materials like food waste and service ware, and repurposing items like discarded handbags, signage and construction materials through local community organizations. Rush2Recyle staff will encourage stadium fans to recycle and compost. Stadium partners introduced a tri-bin waste collection system, invested in a dedicated organics compactor and implemented a detailed post-game waste sort to insure each waste stream is contaminant free. This will leave a lasting impact after the final whistle, as the stadium's waste diversion infrastructure will become permanent at U.S. Bank Stadium, helping protect the environment and reduce waste hauling costs.
"The NFL is a responsible steward of the environment in all areas of our business," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "For 25 years, the NFL has strived to reduce the environmental impact of its events and leave a positive green legacy in host communities. Through this project, the league and its partners hope to set a new standard of environmental sustainability at the Super Bowl."
The effort will also engage fans nationwide, inviting them to join the Rush2Recycle team and providing tips to recycle more and intercept waste at Super Bowl parties and year-round. PepsiCo and the Rush2Recycle ambassador — Super Bowl XL MVP and Pittsburgh Steelers Legend Hines Ward — are launching a social media campaign to showcase recycling MVPs across the country, and inspire fans to tackle waste in their communities. Ward will be sharing his own recycling end zone dance, the Rush2Recyle Shuffle, which will be made available at Rush2Recycle.com, along with tips and other resources.
"At PepsiCo, we know that developing more sustainable packaging and reusing and recycling materials are key to sustaining our success in the long-term, both as a company and as a society," said PepsiCo Chairman & CEO, Indra Nooyi. "And we could not be more thrilled to join this groundbreaking effort. There's no grander stage in all of American sports than the Super Bowl, and we look forward to working with our partners at the NFL, Aramark, and U.S. Bank Stadium to shine a spotlight on the critical importance of recycling and waste reduction."
"The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority is proud of the hard work and dedication put forth by all stadium partners to build a sustainable, zero-waste program for U.S. Bank Stadium. This dedication echoes the State of Minnesota's commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and building an operation that is friendly to our environment," said Michael Vekich, Chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, owner of U.S. Bank Stadium. "We're excited to be working with the NFL and PepsiCo to officially kickoff our zero-waste initiative, an operational program that will leave a lasting impact on our facility for years to come."
"Aramark takes great pride in championing innovations that positively impact the communities we serve while inspiring others to make a difference," said Eric J. Foss, Chairman, President & CEO of Aramark. "As U.S. Bank Stadium's food and beverage partner, we are excited to be at the forefront of collaborating with the NFL and its partners to implement our industry-leading waste minimization practices and create a sustainable game day environment that will also benefit Minneapolis far beyond Super Bowl LII."
This project brought key stakeholders in the Minneapolis community together with the goal of dramatically reducing waste leading up to and following Super Bowl LII. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the stadium's operator SMG and Aramark have worked diligently to create and implement waste initiatives aimed at reducing the overall amount of landfill waste.
In addition, Minnesota Vikings leadership teams, recycling officials from Hennepin County, executives from waste hauler Republic Services and community outreach staff from the Minnesota Super Bowl LII Host Committee provided support for this initiative. Since June 2017, U.S. Bank Stadium partners have increased the stadium's diversion rate by roughly 55 percent, reaching a high of 83 percent by January 2018. Achieving zero-waste (90 percent waste diversion) at Super Bowl LII will be an accomplishment that all partners have worked together to achieve.
For more than 25 years, the NFL has been the leader in sports event sustainability; creating the first significant stadium solid waste recycling project in America at Super Bowl XXVIII in Atlanta in 1994. The NFL and the Minnesota Super Bowl LII Host Committee developed a series of initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of Super Bowl LII activities and leave a "green" legacy throughout the area.
Through the NFL Environmental Program, solid waste from Super Bowl events is being recycled and leftover décor and construction materials will be donated to local organizations for reuse and repurposing. Tens of thousands of pounds of unserved, prepared food from Super Bowl events will be distributed to local shelters and community kitchens.
U.S. Bank Stadium, the site of Super Bowl LII, and several other major NFL Super Bowl event venues will be powered using "green energy" to reduce the climate impact of Super Bowl events. A Super Bowl E-waste event was held in October and diverted 42,081 pounds of E-waste from the landfill for responsible recycling.
The NFL's Super Bowl urban forestry program planted more than 12,000 trees, 4,000 native plants and 8 pollinator gardens in Minnesota. On Thursday, Jan. 18, more than 100 local schools joined in a community initiative called Super Kids-Super Sharing which put books, sports equipment and school supplies into the hands of local children in need.