Seattle’s Lumen Field is committed to minimizing its environmental impact. It extends that promise to fans who attend games and concerts, diverting an average of 90% of waste at the venue from landfills. Imagine if every local restaurant could promise the same results. Lumen Field hosts hundreds of large and small events each year. This summer, it broke attendance records when Ed Sheeran performed for 77,286 fans, beating Taylor Swift’s mark of 72,171 fans earlier in the summer. The Swifties produced seismic tremors equivalent to a 2.3 magnitude earthquake as they danced along with her music. With more than two million visitors annually, the stadium relies on carefully selected concessions packaging, recycling bins, and innovative processes to collect, sort, and send as much material as possible for reuse, recycling, and composting.

“We have a Seahawks game on Sunday,” Christy Briggs, Logistics and Sustainability Manager at First & Goal Incorporated, who manages Lumen Field’s recycling and other sustainability programs. “It’s our home opener and overnight we are turning the building over to get ready for Beyonce to move into the building.” Technology also helps track what is used and recycled or composted inside the stadium. Lumen Field is part of the Green Sports Alliance’s Play to Zero initiative, which is helping more than 300 member facilities integrate measurement practices that can identify gaps in collection and processing to reduce waste.

Because Lumen Field is a tightly controlled space — security concerns limit items allowed in — fans can leave everything they purchased to eat during a game under their seat when they go. And the lion’s share of the waste left will be collected, sorted, and processed. However, fans may arrive with unrecyclable materials. After Taylor Swift’s shows, for example, Lumen Field collected feather boas and beads that had to go to landfill.  The stadium has invested heavily in sustainable operations. It sources all its janitorial supplies from Green Seal-certified companies and buys as much food as possible from local farmers, donating tons of unconsumed food to the community. 

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Author: Mitch Ratcliffe, Earth 911
Image: Earth 911