Penn State’s sustainability efforts lauded in Beaver Stadium suites

University Park, Pa. – Penn State’s successful efforts to reduce waste that goes to landfills after football games at Beaver Stadium are spotlighted in a case study in the recently published “Food Waste Diversion and Compostable Packaging Playbook” from the Green Sports Alliance .

According to the coalition, the purpose of the playbook is to provide an overview of the role of certified compostable food service Where Play in combating climate change through the diversion of organic waste from landfills to composting facilities. Green Sports Alliance is a Environmentally focused trade organization that calls on sports teams, leagues, conventions, venues, corporate partners, government agencies, athletes and fans around the world to promote healthy, sustainable communities.

“By switching from petrochemical-based plastics and materials to biobased, compostable food service ware and composting programs, Green Sports Alliance members can reduce their carbon footprint by preventing single-use plastic and organic waste from accumulating in landfills, The playbook explains.

Additionally, according to the Coalition, soil produced by composting facilities from food waste and compostable food packaging requires less fertilizer than standard untreated soil, contains more micronutrients (which increases crop yield), Retains more water, better filters water runoff and separates carbon – thus contributing to greenhouse gas mitigation.

Penn State’s Beaver Stadium was used as a case study because its third-floor suites exhibit high landfill diversion rates, zero-waste efforts, the playbook noted. The industry definition of zero-waste does not mean that no waste is generated, but that the amount of waste (recycled or composted) is 90% or more.

“The Penn State athletics events had a huge environmental footprint with fans attending the events approximately 1 million times per year,” the playbook states. “To reduce waste and save money, the university targets zero waste in its locations, creating a showcase for key stakeholders to highlight sustainability efforts.”

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Judd Michaels, a professor of agricultural and biological engineering who led the initial efforts at Penn State, said the university’s strategic objectives in this sustainability effort were as follows: achieving zero waste in the suite sections of Beaver Stadium while maintaining a premium fan experience. ; Learn from the suite’s experiences to expand the initiative to all Beaver Stadium and other on-campus athletic venues; Making Suites’ zero-waste initiative a showcase for donors and government officials; And use zero-waste initiatives to educate students about sustainability and conduct academic research.

In line with these goals, Michael stated that Beaver Stadium’s third-floor suites – which include the Nittany Lion Club and the President and Government Relations – were converted into certified compostable food service utensils, including cups and cutlery, including Contains bioplastics made by Ingo. Waste audits following home games beginning in 2013, and used student sustainability ambassadors – known as EcoReps – to educate and engage fans to help achieve zero-waste goals.

Efforts to achieve zero waste in the third-floor suites relied on collaborative efforts between the Office of the President, the Bryce Jordan Center/Campus Catering, Intercollegiate Athletics, the Office of the Physical Plant, and the Sustainability Institute.

“It is vital that Penn State maintains its position as a leader and role model for other higher education institutions seeking to achieve sustainability goals from landfill diversion to low carbon emissions.” Michael said. “Sports provides an excellent platform to demonstrate that leadership, and we are honored that the Green Sports Alliance has recognized our efforts.”