Sustainability

Mercedes-Benz Stadium claims world first as zero-waste efforts recognised

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer team Atlanta United, has claimed a world first for a sports stadium after it was awarded with the Total Resource Use and Efficiency (TRUE) Platinum certification for its zero-waste efforts.

The certification is administered by Green Business Certification Inc. and recognises buildings and projects which have implemented the foundational programmes and policies of sustainable waste management and reduction practices.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which hosts more than 50 events and welcomes three million visitors annually, said it has created a “zero-waste playbook” for other stadiums to use worldwide. The venue will provide materials and counsel to other organisations to help them achieve the same designation.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium was awarded a TRUE precertification for its efforts back in June, becoming the first stadium to achieve such recognition. It came after State Farm Arena, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, became the first venue overall to achieve the certification.

The stadium’s precertification was awarded following the successful implementation of policies to divert at least 90% of waste from landfill, incineration and the environment.

Following the latest certification, Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s chief operating officer Dietmar Exler said: “At two million square feet and a capacity of 75,000 seats, no other sports venue of this size anywhere has accomplished what we’ve done.

“This TRUE certification continues Arthur Blank’s long-term sustainable vision for generations of fans, a commitment to reduce our overall environmental footprint both in and around the stadium. 

“We didn’t want to just change what we do at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, we wanted to be the example for everyone in the sports and entertainment industry that this can be achieved, and we can make a difference.”

Peter Templeton, president and chief executive of US Green Building Council and GBCI, added: “Businesses must go beyond our current wasteful practices and think critically about how to redesign processes so that less waste is produced in the first place.

“Implementing zero-waste business practices requires rethinking, retraining, new tools, and strong leadership to change current waste systems. With Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s leadership in this endeavour, they are making great strides for their employees, community, and the sports industry at large.”

Green practices and programmes currently employed by Mercedes-Benz Stadium include using supply chain items made from recyclable and compostable materials; leveraging a 6,000-square-foot resource recovery room to reclaim, sort and divert materials from landfill; sustainability education and engagement programmes for fans, associates and food and beverage partners; and fitting recycling and compost bins at every stadium suite.

In 2017, the stadium became the first professional sports venue in North America to reach Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, the highest level for the green building certification programme.