Saturday, 2 August 2008

Zero Waste Stadiums. Is that possible?

Members of GreenYes are actively looking for ideas towards "Zero Waste Stadiums" It started with a request for ideas from the University of Colorado's Athletic Department to meet the school's carbon neutrality goal through waste reduction, packaging changes, and trash can removal.

What ideas can I contribute towards a future of "Zero Waste Stadiums"? Let me start from my experience from years helping out at the Asian Aerospace Show in Singapore for my former company.

The company gave away beer mugs as souvenirs with logos of the company and the aerospace event printed on each sides of the mugs. As the event occurs every two years, customers enjoy collecting them as the year of the event is printed on one side of the mug.

The same idea can be adapted for stadiums anywhere in the world. Encourage sports fans to buy cups or beer mugs or food containers sold at the stadium. Call it the "Be Sporting Green" programme. The price for these F&B containers can be reduced by getting sponsors to advertise on one side of the mugs along with that of the sporting event.

Owners of these F&B containers can be encouraged to use them by offering them discounts at outlets when they buy their drinks or food with them; not only at the stadium but at participating outlets in the country. Since the stadium do not have to engage more staff to sort or pick up recyclables F&B containers from waste, the savings can allow them to consider reducing rentals space of F&B outlets in the facility to encourage owners to participate in the programme.

Set up a dish washing station in the stadium so that customers can opt to wash their containers at this station if they do not want to carry dirty containers with them. Should they be charged for this service or can this be factored into the purchase of tickets, containers or food? The message to project with this dish washing station is "Wash only when full". So, instead of waiting for the cleaning process to start or finish, customers will be given a clean set on hand.

If that is not a good option, then a special bag made of drip proof and washable material will have to be given out to customers who buy the F&B containers. Make it free by getting sponsors to supply them as a green initiative.

To go one step further, create a website to sell these F&B containers from previous years. If customers know that what they bought from a stadium they have been to a few years back can become collectors' item they would keep them with more care. If this idea catch on globally, they can also exchange what they have with sport fans worldwide. This should eliminate the fear that these F&B containers will end up in landfills.

How's that for an idea? Want to join in the fun? Take a look at the following links suggested by other GreenYes members and see what you can come up with:

* Oakland Coliseum Complex

* CRRA's Venues and Special Events Recycling Council

* CIWMB Venue

* Del Mar Fairgrounds

* The University of California Davis has a Zero Waste stadium.

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