Hoffenheim's PreZero Arena in Sinsheim has been certified as the first zero-waste stadium in Europe by Germany's technical inspection agency (TÜV).

The announcement marked a milestone for German football and also for Bundesliga club Hoffenheim, who underlined their reputation as a trailblazer in the fight against climate change.

The recognition is the result of years of hard work towards becoming a pioneer in battling climate change.

According to managing director Denni Strich, it serves as an incentive to keep going, in cooperation with the club's sustainability partner and stadium sponsor, PreZero. He said:

This was a great vision for us, we're very proud and happy about it.

But what does zero waste actually mean? The basic idea behind the concept is to avoid waste entirely. 

However, since that is not possible at major events with thousands of visitors, the focus is instead on reintegrating the waste into recyclable materials.

Concrete examples of this at the PreZero Arena are the returnable beverage cups and the grass paper obtained from the stadium turf, on which autograph cards and matchday flyers are printed.

PreZero expert Marcus Sagitz said:

We want to close the loop as much as possible. We have to see how we can incorporate packaging contents as well as possible so that they are recyclable. That's what the zero waste concept is all about. 

The three pillars behind the thinking are: Reduce (waste avoidance), Recycle (reuse) and Re-Use (use again). Strich added:

The TÜV certification is a milestone for us. It was a great vision of ours to get to where we are now together with our partner PreZero. Therefore, it is a significant day for us and all partners involved. We look forward to the future and further steps.

The club's huge efforts towards climate protection and minimising non-recyclable waste have also included their fans, who have been participating and involved every step of the way.

Image: Wikipedia PreZero