Super Bowl Sunday is, for many American sports fans, the most important holiday of the year. We buy new flat screen TVs, paint ourselves in the colors of our team (if they happen to have made it to the big game) and we eat copious amounts of less than healthy food. However unsustainable that sounds, the NFL has taken great strides toward making Super Bowl XLVI a greener and cleaner event.
Lucas Oil Stadium, the venue for this year’s big game and the Indianapolis Colts’ home field, recently released a list of green initiatives that are quite impressive. Here are a few highlights:
To cut down on food waste, the stadium has developed a partnership with Second Helpings, a food rescue program that reclaims leftover food and takes it to kitchens at their facility. Under the supervision of trained chefs, unemployed locals learn to prepare food, which is given to homeless shelters and missions in Indianapolis. For the first time, fans will have the chance to enjoy organic food and celebrate family farmers while cheering on their team. HOMEGROWN Concessions is partnering with Centerplate to sell HOMEGROWN chili, the first organic concessions item to be sold at a Super Bowl.
In 2010, Lucas Oil Stadium and The Indiana Convention Center recycled nearly 60 tons of aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass and cardboard. Paper and cooking oil are recycled, and a food waste pulper recycles dishwater and condenses waste before it goes into the landfill. Storm water infiltration basins separates storm water from oils and grease before traveling to nearby waterways. In addition to its current recycling program, Lucas Oil Stadium implemented “The Enhanced Sports Stadium Recycling Program,” which is supported by city government and aims to increase recycling participation and improve the attitude toward recycling at all of Indianapolis’ sports stadiums. For Super Bowl XLVI, the stadium will provide more recycling bins than any previous Super Bowl, and restaurants and businesses around the Super Bowl village have also agreed to up the recycling bin count.
People will buy a lot of food from various concession stand during the Super Bowl. Instead of plastic utensils, Lucas Oil uses biodegradable disposables and 100% recycled paper towels and tissues. The center also uses Green Seal Certified cleaning products throughout the facility. In an effort to save water, sensory guided sink faucets and low-flow toilets have been installed to use less water. Also, for clean up, all parking lots are swept clean instead of hosed down with water.
In an attempt to provide local, organic food Lucas Oil Stadium has developed strategic partnerships with local farmers to purchase seasonal fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and poultry. They also purchase food and condiments in bulk, cutting down on packaging and transportation waste.
In order to cut down on energy use, Lucas Oil Stadium utilizes several energy saving materials including low-wattage lamps, a retractable roof, CPI Daylighting system and large fans designed to move the maximum amount of air with minimal energy consumption. Best of all, the NFL and well as the Super Bowl Host Committee will be using green power for nearly everything on game day. Green Mountain Energy is providing 15 million kWh of renewable energy power to Super Bowl XLVI.
In order to furher offset some of the environmental impact, the Super Bowl XLVI Host Committee had set a goal of planting 2,012 trees in the Indianapolis area before game day. They not only met, but exceeded this goal, with 2,876 trees planted to date.
There are also things that you can do when watching the game at home, to make your Super Bowl Sunday more sustainable. Watching with friends is not only more fun, it’s also greener, since you conserve energy by only using one TV. Why not swap out those traditional snack foods for healthier, more earth-friendly vegan options. Try not to go overboard and make too much. If you do end up with leftovers, make an effort to save them or send your guests home with extra food you know you won’t eat. They’ll leave happy whether or not your team is the one hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the end of the game.