Basketball team Atlanta Hawks and its home court State Farm Arena announced a sustainability partnership Monday with Novelis, the world’s top aluminum rolling and recycling company. The arena is currently working toward becoming a “TRUE zero-waste venue”: a designation given by leading credentialing organization Green Business Certification, Inc. To qualify, venues must “achieve an average 90% or greater overall diversion from landfill, incineration (waste-to-energy), and the environment for solid, non-hazardous wastes.”
Earlier this year, State Farm Arena met this requirement at its sold out Game 4 of the Atlanta Hawks’ first-round playoff series against the New York Knicks, attended by more than 16,000 fans. This marked the first time any sporting event worldwide received the TRUE designation.
To make this outcome the norm in the future, State Farm Arena is undertaking numerous waste-reduction efforts. It recently switched from single-stream to multi-stream recycling, increasing the value of its recyclables by separating them into individual streams (e.g. aluminum, plastic, cardboard, glass, etc.). It also switched from black recycling bags to clear bags in order to more easily spot contamination: when a given type of waste is placed in an incorrect receptacle. At its gift shop, it eliminated plastic bags altogether, opting instead for 100% compostable cardboard paper.
Novelis will accelerate this process by providing guidance and operational knowledge to organize, sort and recycle aluminum and other materials. In each suite of the arena, aluminum cups, canned water and recycling cans will be made available. Back in 2019, Denver’s Pepsi Center became the first major sports arena to introduce sustainable aluminum cups.
State Farm Arena will also educate its guests on the importance of sustainability and responsible recycling habits. During each game, a segment called Recycle and Win presented by Novelis will run, highlighting a fan who responsibly diverts waste from landfills by correctly using the arena’s compost, recycle and trash bins.
Commenting on this effort, Novelis North America President Tom Boney stated:
“As the world’s largest recycler of aluminum, we want people to understand the environmental and economic value that comes from recycling their aluminum can, bottle or cup. We are proud to enable the use of more sustainable packaging in State Farm Arena and make recycling more convenient for fans in our hometown of Atlanta.”
Additional initiatives include hosting an annual sustainability-themed joint community service project and a Green Game later this season. In a nod to its new partner, State Farm Arena named its most premium suite level The Novelis Sustainable World Veranda Level.