The Real Winner of Super Bowl LIV? The Planet!

By Lindsay Buchignani

You may have heard some rumors about the 2020 Super Bowl being zero waste… and to our beautiful planet’s luck, that rumor was correct! We all know that stadium games can create a lot of waste, and it’s important to realize the harm that it can have on the environment. Plastic pollution and food waste are both very serious global crises, but there’s hope to help combat these issues. Thanks to the help of conscious vendors, organizations, and consumers, the 54th Super Bowl was on the planet’s side this year!

Let's Talk Waste...Average Waste at a Stadium Game

To understand the true reality of waste at a Super Bowl game, we have to hear the facts! The average NFL game generates 80,000 pounds of trash. During the Super Bowl, this amount of trash can double. On average, 310,000 pounds of carbon emissions are generated by the Super Bowl. As much as 40,000 pounds of food could be potentially wasted. It’s clear that the Super Bowl’s past events have created tons of waste towards the climate crisis. However, 2020 has become the year that they have decided to move towards more sustainable practices!

Ways that the 54th Super Bowl was Sustainable During the Game

The 54th Super Bowl implemented a “zero waste to landfill” concept this year. The main goal was to reduce the food and plastic waste that normally goes to a landfill after a big sporting event. The best way for the Super Bowl to implement this idea was to send the trash to other places that would be more useful to our planet. All of the waste this year either went to a recycling center, a compost facility, or a plant where it was burned for energy. A recycling center focuses on reducing the use of natural resources by reusing materials. A compost facility helps to keep landfills from filling up prematurely, minimizes the need for chemical fertilizers, makes major contributions to soil health, and overall minimizes landfills' contribution to climate change. Plants that burn energy are very efficient because not only do they reduce the amount of material that would normally be buried in landfills, but they use the heat from the fire to make steam for generating electricity.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways the game was sustainable:

  • Attending the game?...Use your phone! Mobile tickets were encouraged to cut back on paper.

  • Buying a drink?...Use an aluminum cup! Aluminum can be endlessly recycled without losing any value.

According to the event’s concessions vendor Centerplate, they chose to partner with Bud Light and container manufacturer