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St. Louis City SC details zero-waste vision for CityPark

Featured image credit: St. Louis City SC

St. Louis City SC has unveiled a number of sustainability initiatives as it prepares for its debut Major League Soccer season at the newly-built CityPark stadium.

CityPark, which has a capacity of 22,500, will open as a zero-waste stadium, with all waste generated to either be reduced, reused, recycled or composted.

City SC’s sustainability commitment also includes eliminating single-use consumer plastics, recycling and composting, comprehensive energy efficiency and water conservation initiatives, and partnering with food donation programmes.

Ahead of its debut MLS campaign, the club has been building its ‘Our City’ sustainability programme, which calls upon suppliers, partners, fans and staff to reduce landfill waste, conserve resources, and measure and report key sustainability operating metrics.

City SC has recruited commercial and non-profit partners who share the team’s commitment to the environment. Stadium concessionaire Levy Restaurants and venue operator ASM Global are working with vendors and CityPark’s local restaurant partners to reduce single-use consumer plastic waste wherever possible.

Beverage partner PepsiCo has also committed to reducing plastic waste by serving beer and non-alcoholic beverages in highly recyclable, club-branded aluminium cans and cups. CityPark also hosts a compost sorting and collection centre on its pitch level to help capture food and biodegradable waste on-site.

Additionally, Levy will work with Operation Food Search, a local non-profit organisation, to recover prepared but uneaten food from restaurant partners after matches and events for local food bank distribution centres.

Other features within the Our City programme include reducing water resources, relying on renewable energy sources, operating energy-efficient mechanical and electrical equipment, identifying more sustainable janitorial and landscape practices, and encouraging environmentally preferable transportation options.

Carolyn Kindle, president and chief executive of City SC, said: “We want CityPark to be an inspiration to our community, of how it is possible to embrace waste reduction and conservation practices in our work and homes. St. Louis is a region of rivers and agricultural innovation. We have a great opportunity to remind our partners, fans, and neighbours that our future is our responsibility.”

Kristen Wild, president and chief executive of Operation Food Search, added: “We are thrilled to work with St. Louis City SC to reduce food waste and further address food insecurity in the region. We estimate that this partnership will allow us to divert 3000 pounds per year of food from landfills to families’ tables, thanks to the commitment of STL City, their restaurant partners, and their fans.”

CityPark was built at a cost of $485m (£404m/€453m). In October, the club announced that the venue would no longer be called Centene Stadium, with a new naming-rights sponsor now being sought.

Healthcare company Centene was unveiled as the stadium’s naming-rights sponsor in February 2022 as part of a 15-year deal, but since October the venue has been known as CityPark.

Following discussions with Centene, the club agreed to reshape its partnership with the company. The two parties will work together on community health and wellness initiatives promoting youth soccer and fitness.

CityPark officially opened in November as City SC’s reserve team faced a team representing German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen. City SC’s first MLS game at the stadium will be against Charlotte FC on March 4.