The Portland Trail Blazers and Eco-Products are teaming up to enhance the NBA team’s waste diversion goals through the use of compostable packaging, food waste diversion, and other efforts at games and events in the city.
Eco-Products’ compostable packaging will be used at Portland’s LEED-certified Moda Center, the Trail Blazers’ current home arena, and at its original venue, Veterans Memorial Coliseum. In partnership with Waddington North America, Eco-Products will also provide reusable cups for the Moda Center’s reusable drinkware program. The program intends to be fan accessible by including compost bins at each waste bin located throughout both venues.
To further promote participation, fans will also be able to support Oregon farmers when they compost their plates, bowls, utensils, cups, food scraps, and more. These items will be processed by COP Disposal & Recycling, then delivered to Oregon farmer, Annen Brother, to be used as compost for growing hazelnuts.
“We’re very excited to bring on Eco-Products as an Official Zero Waste Partner as we continue to lead sustainability efforts across professional sports,” said Brittany Saulsbury, sustainability operations manager for the Portland Trail Blazers. “With a goal of achieving zero waste for every event no later than 2030, we are taking bold steps in our waste management practices, and it all starts with what we source. Our partnership with Eco-Products will support and elevate our goal of only having compostables, recyclables, and reusables in our concession stands.”
Potential for Large-Scale Athletic Events to Reduce Waste
According to organizers of the 2020 Super Bowl, the average NFL game generates about 80,000 pounds of trash, with most of this waste coming from single-use plastic cups. Sporting event attendees across the United States are reportedly responsible for about 39 million pounds of trash each year.
In response, some collegiate teams and professional organizations have been working to reduce this number by using compostable materials and reducing their overall carbon emissions. For instance, the University of Southern California football team hosted a Zero Waste Game earlier this season in partnership with compostable cup brand, Better for All. Organizers of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris are also working to reduce the carbon footprint of food served at the massive event, halving single-use plastics and sourcing at least 80% of food products locally.
The Portland Trail Blazers were one of the co-founders of the Green Sports Alliance, which brings together stakeholders in the sporting world to improve sustainability efforts. The Trail Blazers organization currently diverts about 1.5 million pounds of materials each year, according to the team, and aims to make the Moda Center the first TRUE-certified zero-waste arena.