Inspired By The NFL

By Gina Snyder

When I was a teenager, we used to play touch football in the neighborhood. Whoever was around would be allowed to play, regardless of ability or age. Super Bowl Sunday brought me back to those memories of what seemed like a simpler time.

But maybe it wasn’t so simple. In those days, we used to drive trash over to the “town dump” and toss it into a former gravel pit. Things have changed and the NFL has changed with the times.

The NFL worked to minimize the environmental impact of Super Bowl activities. And in reading what they were doing, I saw that the NFL’s activities and actions were so easy we can scale them to our personal actions.

The first activity they listed dealt with trash. NFL event facilities diverted trash by recycling and reusing potential waste materials. The Lucas Oil Stadium, the Indiana Convention Center, and hotels serving as team headquarters, as well as the NFL headquarters and the Motorola Super Bowl Media Center all participated. The JW Marriott hotel also took part in a composting pilot project during Super Bowl week. Food waste scraps were collected in compostable bags and taken to a facility to be converted into nutrient-rich compost.

Massachusetts has extensive recycling programs and so, like the NFL Superbowl Committee, we can divert waste from the trash through our recycling and our composting programs. Inspired by the NFL, I put my recycling bin out for my guests on Superbowl Sunday and collected cans, bottles and plastics. And I composted paper and food scraps.

The NFL even launched a Superbowl Climate Change Initiative with steps taken to reduce the overall greenhouse gas impact of Super Bowl activities and events. The organization used renewable energy certificates to provide “green” power for major Super Bowl XLVI event venues and is planting several thousand trees in neighborhoods in partnership with ‘Keep Indianapolis Beautiful’ as part of the “greening” of Super Bowl XLVI. Again following the NFL, I plan to participate in a local tree donation program this spring and contribute to the greening of my community, too. There are so many ways to participate locally in NFL’s greening efforts. Let us know your ideas.

About the author: Gina Snyder works in the Office of Environmental and Compliance Assistance at EPA New England and has been a volunteer river monitor on the Ipswich River, where she also picks up trash every time she monitors the water quality.