Frank E. Celli, CEO of BioHiTech Global, gives us an exclusive insight into how Fan Engagement can boost a sports venues’ Waste Diversion goals.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, roughly one-third of all food produced for human consumption, about 1.3 billion tons, is lost or wasted each year, enough food to fill as many as 730 stadiums. The gravity of this waste occurrence has spurred a movement to reduce and divert food waste across the globe.
In the summer of 2014 the European Union issued measures to ban the landfilling of organics by 2025 and additionally will start requesting that 7,000 of their largest public companies report on environmental matters beginning in 2017. Just this past September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to announce a nationwide goal to reduce U.S. food waste by 50 percent by 2030.
Stadiums Need To Participate
Because stadiums around the world draw millions of spectators each year, only a number of them are meeting the challenge of implementing waste minimisation strategies or revamping their material management and sustainability programs to help address and solve this issue.
At no fault of their own, some stadiums often look to the easiest solution without considering the environmental implications. They blindly rely on their hauler to make the largest component of their waste, food waste, just disappear. There are others, however, that are using an innovative way to reduce, divert, and dispose of the food waste at the point of generation aligning their goals with that of the worlds.
Onsite aerobic digestion is the process in which a machine uses oxygen, water, agitation and microorganisms to breakdown food waste into a liquid effluent that can be safely discharged to the sewer system. This process is far more effective and environmentally friendly in the war on diversion from landfill than hauls to distant compost or AD facilities.
But it is important to draw focus to the FDA’s food waste hierarchy that suggests the best way to dispose of food waste is to produce less of it in the first place. In this “source reduction” phase, the idea would be to use a tool that quantifies what is being wasted in order to adjust what is purchased, prepared and consumed so that tomorrow less is wasted and less is disposed of.
The Eco-Safe Digester is two solutions in one
In order to acquire this level of detailed data in a multi-food venue operation, a stadium would need a smart technology solution that collects and reports this kind of data.
While its main objective is to sit quietly in the back of the house, BioHiTech’s Eco-Safe Digester continuously digests food waste throughout the day eliminating the need to drag bagged heavy wet waste to the compactor. It then measures each increment of waste during the digestion process and sends the detailed data to a cloud platform.
Stadium managers and owners have immediate access to the waste information to track and monitor the origin of the waste to make the necessary adjustments affecting sourcing, handling and ultimately prevention while dining services workers use the digester in a manner that makes them more efficient in the management of the material.
This sustainable approach consequently saves them thousands of dollars per game while reducing landfill waste.
Motivating fans is the key to success
One of the most important aspects of an effective sustainability and waste management program is communication. BioHiTech’s smart management tool can communicate a stadium’s sustainability and waste management progress throughout each game to foster fan engagement and boost participation of diversion goals.
Food waste diversion results, as well as the environmental impact, can be communicated to the fans through the use of digital in-stadium billboards, by incorporating athletes into the stadium’s environmental campaign, and tying give-aways to participation. All communication methods will help stadiums of all sizes achieve a sustainable outcome.
Stadiums incorporating this unique customer-facing food waste diversion technology can expect increased efficiencies and cost savings while offering a sustainable guest experience.