BioCycle December 2014
As the city of Phoenix, Arizona prepares to host several Super Bowl XLIX-related parties in January, the Phoenix Public Works Department is just as busy preparing to establish a first-ever, sustainable element to the Super Bowl experience. In partnership with the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee and Super Bow XLIX, the first Reduced Waste Challenge will be established within Super Bowl Central, an area in the heart of downtown Phoenix where thousands can attend parties and family-friendly activities for 10 days leading up to the big game. The goal of the Challenge is to divert 80 percent of waste from landfills by encouraging vendors, business owners and attendees to use compostable and recyclable materials, as well as reusable items such as take-home plastic cups and bottles. Phoenix Public Works will provide three types of collection containers throughout Super Bowl Central for trash, recycling and composting, as well as do all the collection within the boundaries of that downtown area. Volunteers will be placed at defined checkpoints to assist attendees in sorting into the appropriate containers. Materials recovered will be transported to a city-owned solid waste facility to be sorted and processed.
“Phoenix is fully committed to recycling, and the Super Bowl is a great opportunity to take this challenge to a national level,” says Mayor Greg Stanton. In 2013, the Mayor and City Council introduced Reimagine Phoenix, the city’s sustainability initiative with a goal to divert 40 percent of citywide trash from the landfill by 2020. Reimagine Phoenix has three focus areas: 1) Education and community outreach; 2) New and enhanced solid waste programs; and 3) Private and public partnerships. Public Works’ involvement with Super Bowl Central encompasses all three focus areas, but more importantly, serves as a testing ground for the next big solid waste program the city has to offer. “In July, we launched two new solid waste programs — Save As You Reduce and Recycle (SAY R&R), a pay-as-you-throw program, and a curbside green organics collection program,” notes John Trujillo, Public Works director. “These programs make it more convenient for our customers to recycle and divert waste. The next big step for us is to implement an expanded composting program to help our customers reduce the amount of food scraps and yard waste that is taken to the landfill.”
The Reduced Waste Challenge at Super Bowl Central will function as a pilot to test the city’s collection and disposal operations for the expanded green organics collection program that could include a food scraps component in the near future. Phoenix is in the process of designing a state-of-the-art composting facility at its transfer station that will process yard trimmings and food scraps. The lessons learned from the Reduced Waste Challenge will help design a successful food scraps composting program for the city.