State Farm Arena Diverts 90% of All Waste during Events, Achieves Platinum Certification

(Credit: State Farm Arena)

by | Apr 26, 2022

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(Credit: State Farm Arena)

State Farm Arena, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, has diverted a minimum of 90% of all waste from landfills and incineration during basketball games, concerts and events, leading to TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) Platinum certification from Green Business Certification (GBCI). 

The venue diverted more than 500,000 lbs. of waste during Hawks’ home games throughout the 2021-22 NBA Season. The Hawks and venue worked closely with one of their sustainability partners, Novelis, who provided guidance and operational knowledge to organize, sort and recycle aluminum and other materials.

According to the GBCI, buildings can earn four levels of TRUE certification: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. State Farm Arena received the Platinum designation, the highest of the four classifications. In achieving TRUE Platinum, the venue earned near the maximum number of points from a variety of categories including: redesign, reduce, reuse, compost (re-earth), recycle, zero waste reporting, diversion (min. 90%), zero waste purchasing, leadership, training, zero waste analysis, upstream management, hazardous waste prevention, closed loop system and innovation.

The events center says that local organizations such as the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) aided in creating various recycling solutions for State Farm Arena. In addition, the venue activated dozens of volunteers throughout the season, such as teachers from Atlanta Public Schools, employees from State Farm and students from University of Georgia’s Department of Sustainability, who joined at various events as zero waste volunteers. In their roles, they aided guests at the venue in the process of properly sorting materials to reduce contamination.

GBCI considers itself “the premier organization for independently recognizing excellence in green business industry performance and practice globally, through third party verification services for certification and credentialing.” Its rating systems encourage “the adoption of reliable, resilient and sustainable practices and helps utilities solve aging infrastructure, find cost savings, share best practices, build for resiliency and enhance tracking to prevent failures.” 

Another sports arena looking to improve its sustainable approaches is Yankee Stadium, which introduced a biodegradable and compostable drinking straw that will be available for baseball fans this season, and earlier this year nearly 92% of waste generated by fans at a Billie Eilish performance at State Farm Arena was diverted from landfills by being recycled, donated, composted or reused. 

With this achievement, State Farm Arena is now the first sports and live entertainment venue in the world to receive TRUE certification, according to GBCI. When beginning this journey in 2019, State Farm Arena diverted only an average of 10% of total waste. Since May 2021, the venue has consistently diverted a minimum of 90% of fan-generated waste from landfills.

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