Community tree planting. Renewables purchasing. Carbon offsetting. Prominently placed recycling bins anxious to receive a couple hundred thousand emptied 20-ounce plastic beer cups.

It would seem that with each NFL Super Bowl championship game comes a new wave of sustainability initiatives, and with each passing year the sporting event/national drinking holiday/advertising bonanza is heralded as the “greenest ever.”

This has been going on for nearly 20 years now.

Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta was the greenest ever. Super Bowl XL in Detroit was the greenest ever. Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans was the greenest ever. And now, Super Bowl XLVIII, to be held off of New Jersey Turnpike Exit 16W, will be the greenest of them all — and not because of certain shared something between the two cities duking it out for the title of NFL champion.

Because really, what’s the NFL going to do at this point aside from keep raising the bar? Regress?

In addition to tried and true sustainability staples, the big new green “thing” at this year’s game — “We try and stay ahead of the curve. We try and push the envelope every year,” explains Jack Groh, longtime director of the NFL’s environmental program — is the composting of food scraps on site at MetLife Stadium, a four-year-old venue located in the stadium-heavy heart of the New Jersey Meadowlands, East Rutherford. This will be a Super Bowl first — in addition to the fact that the big game will be held outdoors in the Northeast in frigid weather. (This is the first time that the word "layering" has been used in reference to Super Bowl Sunday outside of dips.)

To be clear, the Super Bowl XLVIII composting scheme wasn’t something dreamt up by NFL as this year’s brand new “it” initiative. Diverting food scraps from the waste stream was already de rigueur at MetLife Stadium, the markedly eco-friendly home (bike parking! waterless urinals! seats made from recycled materials!) the New York Giants and the New York Jets.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Vice President of Facilities Dave Duernberger reveals that 195 tons of food waste were generated at the 82,566-head capacity stadium in 2013 — a decent increase from the 153 tons the previous year.

Duernberger anticipates that this year’s heated match between the Seattle Seahawks (go Hawks!) and the Denver Broncos will yield around 7 or 8 tons of Bubba Burger buns, soggy cheese fries, gnawed-on Taylor Ham, and, one would assume peanut shells, will be processed and can “be used for landscaping.”

As is tradition, non-scrap prepared concession food will be donated to soup kitchens, shelters, and local charities via New York-based nonprofit organization Rock & Wrap It Up. And on the topic of food waste, used cooking oil collected from restaurants will be used in the biodiesel blend-powered generators powering Super Bowl Boulevard across the Hudson in Midtown Manhattan and in the backup generators at MetLife Stadium itself.

And then there’s this dig at embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie via Jeff Tittel, president of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club: "The NFL is doing a better job reducing greenhouse gases and offsetting carbon than the state of New Jersey is. That's the irony, they understand climate change better than our governor does."

Irony, climate change, and Chris Christie aside, does the fact that the NFL has embraced composting mean that you'll handle food waste any differently at your own snack-centric Super Bowl Sunday hoedown?

Via [ABC News]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

The Compost Bowl? Food scraps to be collected at MetLife Stadium
Super Bowl XVIII will go down in history as the first Super Bowl to boast food scrap composting at the host stadium.