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It is hard to imagine a sports event that generates more waste than the Super Bowl. Every year, attendees produce around 40 tons of trash. All the hot dogs, beers, and other fast food and refreshments consumed during the game translate into thousands of plastic wrappers, cups, bottles – you name it – left for the landfill. But not this year! Super Bowl 2018 aims to be the first zero-waste game … ever.

The NFL has partnered with U.S. Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, food service provider Aramark, and PepsiCo to pull this incredible feat off. The initiative, Rush2Recycle, involves around 200 employees and volunteers who will serve as project ambassadors at the stadium and educate visitors about what can be recycled, composted, or thrown away.

The game will attract over 66,000 people so this is a tremendous opportunity to raises awareness about the issue of plastic pollution.

The plans for the zero-waste game began last summer and Rush2Recycle aims to make around 90 percent of the waste, like the pervasive plastic food containers, either recyclable or compostable. Anything that cannot be recycled will be passed to a local waste-to-energy incinerator. To help meet this goal, Aramark worked with Eco-Products to make compostable versions of nacho trays and beer cups, effectively, helping to reduce 70 percent of their waste.

The project also includes a social media campaign and videos with recycling tips that will air during the game itself.

“Some of the tactics we’re employing reflect tactics that are needed in the U.S. in general,” said Roberta Barbieri, PepsiCo’s VP of global water and environmental solutions. “You need proper infrastructure, which is a fancy way of saying you need the right bins, and you need proper signage and education.”

We are so THRILLED to see such a large event take action to reduce plastic pollution and spread the word! At a fun event or festival, it can be easy to forget the impact of all the plastic you use. Sadly, every year around 8.8 million tons of plastic waste end up in the oceans and a shocking 700 marine species are in danger of extinction because of this. By encouraging vendors to only use compostable or recyclable materials and making sure there are proper bins (and signs to explain how to use them!), big venues can help minimize their impact on the planet.

If you are not attending the Super Bowl, but want to carry on their amazing efforts in your own home and everyday life, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!

Image source: djanimal/Flickr

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