I don’t know about you, but I don’t go to a Super Bowl party to watch the game. I go to spend time with friends, catch the commercials, and eat traditional game day foods like Buffalo Chicken Wings. Food is one of the highlights of the big game, whether you’re in the stadium where it’s played, cheering with friends at a neighborhood bar, or watching it from the comfort of a living room couch.

Where there is a lot of food, there is the potential for a lot of waste, especially when it’s party food.

As MNN’s lifestyle blogger Matt Hickman commented when he wrote about last year's game, for some time now, each year the Super Bowl claims to be “the greenest ever.” That’s a good thing. Last year, when the Super Bowl was held at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the stadium became the first ever big game host to require food scraps to be collected for composting. This year, the green initiative is seeping out from the confines of the stadium in Phoenix where the game will be held and heading into the surrounding streets.

AZ Central reports that “in partnership with the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee and Super Bowl XLIX, the first Reduced Waste Challenge is taking place at Super Bowl Central.”

Super Bowl Central is a 12-block area in downtown Phoenix where there will be parties and live music. Vendors and businesses are being encouraged to use recyclable and reusable items. A three-bin system will be set up for waste so compostables and recyclables can be collected.

If the city where this year's big event held can do all this on a grand scale, shouldn’t those of us watching the game from a house party be able to do the same? Can’t we have reduced-waste Super Bowl parties, too?

Here are some simple tips to create less waste this Super Bowl Sunday.

  • Don’t use disposable utensils. All those plastic knives and forks that get used once and then tossed in the trash will live forever in landfills. Use your everyday utensils for your guests (and if you don’t have enough, ask a friend to bring some as long as they’re a different pattern from your utensils). They’re easy enough to throw in the dishwasher at the end of the night or to leave in a sink full of soapy bubbles overnight to clean them. Bonus move: Use your everyday plates and glassware for guests and skip all the throwaways.
  • Send friends home with food. Have clean containers ready so that at the end of the party, guests can take home food if they think they’ll eat it. You won’t have leftovers that will eventually end up being thrown away.
  • Have easy-to-get-to waste and recycle bins. Make sure there’s a clear place for recyclable bottles and cans to go. If you’re using plastic utensils or plates that can be washed and used again, put out a bin for them with a sign to identify that you want to reuse those items. Let your guests know you’re trying to create less waste.
  • Keep away from the party section while you’re shopping. You don’t need a disposable tablecloth that looks like a football field, a swirly decoration with a paper football at the end hanging from your light fixture, or a disposable, plastic chip bowl that’s shaped like a football. Even if the bowl is reusable, you probably already have a bowl for chips. Don’t buy these things, and then you won’t have to worry about disposing of them.

Taking just one of these suggestions will reduce your Super Bowl party waste. Putting all of them into practice will make a huge difference.

What will you be doing this Super Bowl Sunday to reduce the waste wherever you’re watching the big game?

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Will you rise to the Super Bowl party reduced-waste challenge?
The Super Bowl Central team is challenging locals to reduce waste from food. You don’t have to be in Phoenix to rise to the challenge.