How a Major League Baseball Stadium Won an EPA Award

It’s only natural to think about a lot of food waste whenever the idea of an after-game in a big stadium hits you. But that is not the case with Busch Stadium—as it actually won an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) award by having diverted tons of its food waste away from landfills. Instead of availing dumpster rental Auburn NY, the organization specifically looked for an alternative to dispose of uneaten food, and they found beneficial use through donation and composting.

Among those honoured by the regional EPA officials are the Cardinal’s effort to “divert, donate and compost food waste”.  In a pregame ceremony held at Busch Stadium, recognition is given to Green Dining Alliance, a local restaurant sustainability program. Earlier this year, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company also received a national award from EPA for reducing their waste.

Majority of the Waste from Busch Stadium is Food Waste

Food waste takes up bigger proportions of waste from the Busch Stadium, coming from approximately 3.5 million visitors per season. However, in 2010, the organization managed to change the course of 43 tons of uneaten food coming from concession stands and kitchen and is given to Operation Food Search instead. Operation Food Search is an organization of St. Louis whose primary aim is to give out food supplies to food banks in the vicinity.

Sunny Schaefer, the executive director of Operation Food Search, states that their goal is a win-win scenario for everyone who’s involved. The waste going to landfills is lessened, the stadium’s organization is not burdened with the waste, and the food goes to hungry individuals instead of the dumpsters.

While someone may think that the food that goes to the hungry families are mostly unhealthy—like hotdogs and hamburgers—Schaefer assures that the organization she’s managing often gets a lot of vegetables, fruits and other “high-quality” foods from the Cardinals instead.

In 2017, Hosei Maruyama, the Cardinals’ facility operations director, states that Operation Food Search accumulated 4.2 tons of donated food from the team. This marked an increase over the two previous seasons, wherein only 1 ton of food is donated to the said organization. This improvement is made possible by stadium managers, who found ways to collect uneaten food using a walk-in cooler—which then made the collection and distribution process more easily.

Food Waste that can’t be donated anymore gets composted

If the unused food can’t be donated anymore, it is also diverted away from the landfills by composting them instead. In fact, there is a greater amount of food waste coming from Busch Stadium that ends up in composting, rather than being donated to help fight hunger. Murayama states that last year, Busch Stadium accumulated approximately 156.6 tons of waste that’s compostable that went off to Total Organics Recycling. With that amount, compost becomes the second largest flow of diverted waste coming from the Stadium, wherein recycled materials like cardboards, aluminum and plastic come first with a total amount of 405.6 tons.

Final Thoughts

Just like what the Busch Stadium’s organization did to manage their waste which is mainly food waste, other organization may also come up with an idea to change the course of their waste management approach and find its beneficial use instead. Composting and donating is an excellent plan to lessen food waste, and there may be tons of methods to dispose of other waste out there, instead of just adding it up to the amount of waste in a landfill.

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