Since it started measuring waste diversion from landfills in 2006, when it recycled only 4.6% of materials collected, Seattle’s Lumen Field has increased its recycling, composting, and donations efforts to avoid sending 90% of the waste generated by fans to the dump. Meet Christy Briggs, Logistics and Sustainability Manager at First & Goal Incorporated, who leads Lumen Field’s recycling and other sustainability programs. The stadium has a high bar to meet, as just across town, Climate Pledge Arena was the country’s first LEED Platinum sports venue and has achieved similar waste diversion rates. Of course, sports thrive on competition, and Lumen Field has introduced innovative approaches to collection, sorting, and putting items into the right reuse stream. For example, after each major event, Lumen Field rolls out a portable materials recovery facility — a sorting system like the ones used at recycling transfer stations that separates packaging, food waste, and other items.
Sports and concerts connect communities, bringing crowds together from around a city, state, or nation, and those fans toss massive volumes of cups, food service items, programs, and memorabilia. A football game or Taylor Swift concert could be among the most waste-creating events in our society. Many stadiums and sports venues are stepping up to the challenge. Lumen Field’s sustainability efforts go back to its construction, when 35% of the concrete from the demolished Kingdome, the stadium that stood where it is today, was used in the new building. First & Goal Incorporated, which also manages the Seattle Seahawks, has developed programs to reduce environmental impacts that include recycling sod through donations to local parks, sourcing Green Seal-certified janitorial supplies, recycling thousands of gallons of cooking oil, and during a major renovation of the field the company donated 96.3% of the used furniture, carpet, and other materials collected. You can learn more about Lumen Field and its sustainability efforts at https://www.lumenfield.com/venue-info/sustainability
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Editor’s Note: This interview was originally released on September 18, 2023.