Green Facts and Figures Surrounding the Super Bowl

Image by Mahanga via Wikimedia Commons

Well, the big game day is almost here and if you’re like most football fans, you’ve already been plotting and planning for a game day get-together. However, did you know there is a lot more green going on in and around the Super Bowl…other than just the Green Bay Packers being there of course.

Before we get into that, let’s start with some facts and figures about game day consumption (as it is not necessarily the greenest of days):

It is estimated that over 8 million pounds of guacamole and 14.5 tons of chips are consumed on Super Bowl Sunday. More than $50 million dollars are spent on food during the big weekend. Popcorn is another hot item and ranks up there with the volume of guacamole consumed.

Image by bowena

Other than Thanksgiving, there is no day that Americans eat more food than on Super Bowl Sunday. One main difference though is in the set-up. While Thanksgiving is more of a sit-down, bring out the best china and crystal type of day, game day parties tend to opt for plastic cups, plates, disposable plastic-ware and paper napkins. Needless to say a lot of waste is generated on game day. Just in the stadium alone, past Super Bowls have generated an average of 65+ tons of trash each. Note that I’m not even taking into account all the leftover food that goes to waste.

Another fact is early football were made out of pig bladders, but now all footballs are made from cowhide. In fact, it takes around 3000 cows to make enough footballs for one NFL season. Here are a few more interesting facts about the Super Bowl:

Now let’s get into some of the green actions taken in preparation for the upcoming Super Bowl. The NFL has actually continued to work on environmental actions every year over the past 17 or so years. They are intent on walking the walk when it comes to green, environmentally-friendly actions. This year’s preps all started with a tree:

Following that a full-blown environmental program was put into place and included initiatives designed to minimize the environmental impact of the upcoming Super Bowl. These initiatives were such things as:

  • Solid waste management and recycling
  • Prepared food recovery
  • Materials donations
  • Sports equipment and book donations
  • and a Climate change initiative

As a result of these programs and initiatives, some of the following events have already transpired or are soon to transpire:

  • At least 1/3 of all buses being used for Super Bowl XLV transportation will be powered by biodiesel
  • Renewable energy credits are being used to “power” not only Cowboys Stadium, but all the main NFL venues and team hotels as well. This is being done through Just Energy to ensure Super Bowl XLV is the greenest yet.
  • Around 6500 trees were being planted around North Texas through a variety of different planting projects to help combat carbon emissions.
  • In coordination with the Salvation Army, a large donation event took place wherein students donated items they no longer needed to other kids in need. The program – Super Kids-Super Sharing.

You can get a more in depth look at green lessons to be learned from Super Bowl XLV here.

Cowboys Stadium itself even took some large steps to green their operations:

  • They reduced solid waste by 25%
  • They reduced energy by 20%
  • 90% of the old stadium construction waste was recycled
  • They use recycled plastic seats
  • They have a very efficient LED display (reportedly the World’s largest)
  • They use native plants and trees for landscaping
  • They also have recycled bins throughout the stadium

Another example is they partnered up with Totally Green, an environmental innovation company, to really step up their sustainable actions. A bio-composting reactor (the ORCA Green™ Machine) was installed in the stadium and apparently can take up to 2400 pounds of organic waste per day and turn it into nutrient-rich grey water. By doing so they are keeping that waste out of landfills. Take a look at how the machine works:

All in all, when it comes down to it, whether you’re routing for the Packers or the Steelers, remember that a lot of green went in to making Super Bowl XLV a little more environmentally-friendly. So please be sure to do your part to keep your impact on the environment to a minimum as well. Enjoy!

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