Major League Soccer franchise Philadelphia Union has vowed to minimise the waste produced at its stadium through a closed loop recycling programme.

The club has signed a multi-year deal with Braskem, a major producer of thermoplastics polyolefins and biopolymers, to promote the collection and recycling of polypropylene (PP) cups and caps used at its 18,500-capacity Talen Energy Stadium.

Through the Closed Loop Recycling programme, all plastic beverage cups sold in the stadium will be made of PP, which is fully recyclable and identified with the number “5” consumer recycling identification code. PP cups and caps will be collected at all events taking place at the venue.

Recycled cups and bottle caps will be reused as plastic applications within the stadium itself as well as for fan engagement activities and the construction of a promotional structure at the stadium to further encourage fans to participate in the Closed Loop Recycling programme.

As part of the partnership, Braskem will launch a STEM education programme in direct coordination with the Philadelphia Union across 10 public schools located in Delaware and Gloucester counties.

The partnership’s STEM education program will highlight the benefits of sustainability, environmentally conscious plastic use, recycling, as well as sports, health and fitness.

Mark Nikolich, Braskem America chief executive, said: “Braskem and the Philadelphia Union’s new partnership focused on advancing the Circular Economy, as well as STEM education, reflects our joint commitment to a more sustainable future as well as our pride in being active and engaged in making our communities better.

“Our partnership with the Philadelphia Union is a perfect platform with which to engage fans of all ages around embracing the benefits of migrating plastic use to a circular economy, all while helping our youth discover opportunities in STEM education to help carry our vision for a more sustainable society forward into future generations.”

Under the agreement, the MLS club will place polypropylene cup collection bins with Braskem branding on the stadium concourse and around the main entrances. Each bin will have messaging about the new PP cup recycling process to encourage participation.

Philadelphia Union has also created reward programmes to incentivise both and stadium hospitality employees to actively participate. At select Philadelphia Union games, a fan seen properly recycling stadium cups will be awarded a Fanatics gift card.

During Union matches, each relevant vendor at Talen Energy Stadium will be incentivised to collect all beverage caps for recycling. There will be a cash prize at every game for the hospitality employee who collects the most bottle caps for recycling.

Image: andywitchger