August 24, 2017 - Resource Recycling
APR in the News - Throwback Edition
Revisiting articles written by APR's Sandi Childs circa 2001 and 2006 on stadium recycling programs
By Sandi Childs
Appeared in Resource Recycling Magazine in October 2006
Fall is finally here, and with it come cool nights, colorful leaves and a flurry of recycling activity at football stadiums. Unfortunately, many of these venue-recycling programs will prove unsustainable. For most of the country (except, perhaps, California), the model being put forth for stadium recycling simply is not sustainable in the long term.
Plans I have seen for stadium recycling this year exhibit two characteristics, in particular, that work against success and sustainability. First, outside organizations are expected to implement stadium recycling programs in a separate material handling system that does not change the existing operating procedures at the stadium. Second, stadium recycling programs prominently feature a charity element and rely heavily on volunteers. This implies that neither the stadium management nor the local government agencies involved in these programs trust that recycling is a sufficiently economically robust activity to incorporate into day-to-day stadium operations in the same way garbage and stadium clean-up services are incorporated.
By economically robust, I do not suggest that recycling would become a money-maker venture for the team. In fact, operating costs will be incurred, but they are not nearly as monstrous as most stadium managers imagine. And as long as recycling is kept at arms-length, no one will be able to find out what the long-term costs might be and how to minimize them.
Scoring points through PET bottle recovery
By Sandi Childs
Appeared in Resource Recycling Magazine in December 2001
While some curbside recycling collection and drop-off programs struggle with dwindling budgets and flat participation rates, large volumes of PET bottles regularly are discarded at event venues. Recycling at sports events is challenging, involving negotiations and relationships with various parties to accomplish often disparate goals. Yet, in the end, low-cost and low-maintenance recovery programs have the potential to deliver significant PET bottle volumes to market.
For several years, the National Association for PET Container Resources (Charlotte, North Carolina) has initiated projects to facilitate PET bottle recovery at sports venues and special events through the U.S. (see Table 1). In the mid-1990s, NAPCOR initially explored the idea of collecting PET bottles at numerous venues, concluding that despite the popularity of carbonated soft drinks, a lack of sufficient volume prevented recovery programs from being cost-effective. Since then, however, the enthusiastic consumption of beer in PET at sporting events has increased greatly the number of PET bottles generated at venues. An analysis of sales shows that, in many cases, PET represents additional sales over and above typical fountain beverage sales. This trend, along with the continued growth in bottled water consumption, means that cost-effective PET recovery is possible in many venues.
Based on data from the ESPN Sports Almanac, industry sources and some assumptions based on experience, NAPCOR staff conservatively estimate that about 20 million pounds of PET bottles are available for recycling at professional baseball, basketball, football and hockey games in the U.S. Adding NASCAR auto races could increase the amount by another two million pounds.