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Sporting events and stadiums provide an excellent opportunity to reduce waste and promote recycling.  A high volume of cardboard and beverage containers can be diverted from the waste stream with a solid recycling program.

Recycling Targets

Concessions – Concession areas are key to a successful stadium recycling program. Concessionaries can easily collect and bale cardboard for recycling.


Parking Lots – Many stadium parking lots have designated tailgating areas, which can generate large amounts of food and beverage container waste.  Consider providing collection bags as attendees arrive. Attendees can then leave their bags for collection by stadium staff.

Seating Areas – Most patrons consume food at their seats within stadiums, leaving a large amount of waste in and around these areas after events.  Dedicating stadium staff to cycles of pick-up sweeps can recover recycled materials.  Janitorial staff can collect recyclables and trash in separate rounds.

Concourses – Because there is often not room for trash or recycling receptacles in seating areas, place these at the entrances to concourses and near restrooms.  The more convenient it is to recycle, the more willing attendees will be to participate.

Green Stadiums

Several sports stadiums around the country have been recognized for taking extra steps in promoting recycling and green practices within their facilities.

Citi Field – When the Mets decided to build a new stadium, executives dedicated themselves to decreasing waste, using recycled materials, and implementing a recycling program, once the stadium was built.  During construction, builders used over 2 million pounds of recycled coal combustion and 12,000 tons of recycled steel.


Neyland Stadium – The University of Tennessee can host over 100,000 people at a single event at their stadium.  The recycling efforts of Neyland Stadium have resulted in tons of materials diverted from the waste stream.  The stadium uses 55 wheeled toters and collapsible bins for recycling throughout the stadium.  The university has joined with several other local businesses to promote recycling at their events. Stadium staff attributes much of the program’s success to positive community relations, informational booths, radio promotions, and volunteering.

Qualcomm Stadium – This stadium, located in San Diego, hosts a variety of sporting and special events annually, collecting up to 65 tons of recyclable materials per year.  The stadium has over 300 large gallon bins placed in their tailgating area and, in the future, plans to install permanent bins on the lower concourse area.

HP Pavilion – Located in San Jose, the HP Pavilion arena center boasts an approximate 97 percent waste diversion rate.  The center has its restaurant and concessions recycle beverage containers and conducts pick-ups in seating areas for recyclables after events. The area invested in an industrial trash compactor, cardboard baler, and several 3 to 4 cubic yard bins for collecting recyclables.

Beaver Stadium – This stadium starting its program over 15 years ago and recycles over 100 tons of materials per year.  The stadium recently refocused recycling energies to tailgaters and now give recycling bags to attendees.  This initiative nearly doubled their recycling rate.  In addition to saving on disposal costs, the stadium has donated funds totaling over $54,000 from the sale of recyclables.


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