The Super Bowl is one of the largest and most iconic events in American sports culture, and the amount of food consumed scales accordingly. According to National Geographic, there are an estimated 10,000 hotdogs, 9,000 kilograms of shrimp, and 3,600 kilograms of ribs that is consumed at the event. Surprisingly, that is only a small portion of the food required for all the attendees, and over 2,500 culinary personnel are hired to prepare all this food – making sure all the fans are well-fed and happy.
However, there is another side to these mountains of food; mountains of waste. Based on the statistics, an average NFL game can generate over 36,000 kilograms of waste, with the Super Bowl potentially doubling that. This has prompted event organizers and caterers to reduce waste, taking measures such as using aluminum cups and recyclable bamboo utensils. The small amount of single-use plastic will be for applications such as ice-cream containers and souvenir cups. The enclosed environment of the stadium helps the effort, and everything taken by patrons has to be thrown away as they leave. To ensure everything is adequately disposed of, people will be standing by at the trashcans, and the bins themselves will be designed such that it is obvious where the rubbish is to be placed.
The trash is not the only thing that will receive extra scrutiny on game day. Prepared food left uneaten will be donated to Food Rescue US, an organization that helps recover food waste for people in need. Kitchen oil will be recovered for biofuel, seafood will be sourced locally, stadiums are lit with energy-saving LED lights, and purchasing mobile tickets is encouraged to cut back on paper. The event is also a fantastic opportunity to reach and teach people about sustainable living.