The grass wasn’t the only thing that was green in the University of Colorado (CU) football stadium this season. For the fifth year, WhiteWave was a sponsor of CU’s “Green Stampede,” a program aimed at making CU’s Folsom Field stadium a “zero waste” destination. This means that nearly all concessions packaging at home games are recyclable or compostable, and encouraging CU and visiting team fans to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost food and beverage containers, leftover snacks, game programs and more.
Folsom Field was the first major sports stadium in the nation to be converted to a completely zero waste facility. Now, more than 30 zero waste stations inside the stadium make it simple for fans to recycle and compost. In fact, last season alone, over 42 TONS of recyclables and compostables were collected inside the stadium. Since the program’s inception in the 2008-2009 football season, the Ralphie’s Green Stampede program has resulted in the collection of more than 163 tons of recyclable and compostable material and Folsom Stadium’s total waste generation has dropped by roughly 21 percent.
Like CU, we at WhiteWave have a long history of supporting sustainability and renewable energy In fact, to date, our renewable energy purchases are the equivalent of taking nearly 90,000 cars off the road for one year or providing the electricity for almost 55,000 U.S. homes for one year.
Earlier this week, in celebration of Earth Day, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, in partnership with WhiteWave Foods, Waste Management of Colorado, and the Carton Council announced that food and beverage cartons are now recyclable as a part of the Denver Public Works’ residential recycling program, Denver Recycles. That means that nearly all household containers used by Denver residents are recyclable!
When we first heard about this opportunity, we knew we needed to be involved. As a local food company that packages most of its products in cartons, this was a natural fit for us. It’s an opportunity to help ensure Denver residents can recycle food and beverage cartons, including: milk (dairy, soy and almond); juice; single-serve juice and milk boxes; cream; egg whites and egg substitutes; soup and broth; protein drinks; eggnog, wine, tofu; and ice cream and frozen yogurt.
In 2008, only 18 percent of U.S. households had access to carton recycling programs. Today, thanks in part to the Carton Council, this number has doubled to nearly 36%. Denver is now the largest city in the Rocky Mountain region to recycle cartons, and is part of a national movement of major cities across the country to expand residential recycling programs to include cartons.
The recycled carton paper fibers are a valuable resource for making new products and consist of some of the highest quality fiber among recyclable products. Consequently, cartons have global demand and are shipped to paper mills, where the paper fiber is extracted to make new products like paper towels, tissue, and even building materials.
At WhiteWave, our Mission is to be the Earth’s favorite food company, so we’re looking forward to working with the City of Denver, Waste Management and the Carton Council to raise awareness about carton recycling and hopefully increase the number of Denver households that are doing it.
Denver residents who want to learn more can connect with Denver Recycles on Facebook or Twitter, or through their website (you can also simply call 3-1-1). Click here to find out if carton recycling is available in your local community.
Back in 2008 Ralphies Green Stampede made the University of Colorado the first NCAA bowl championship team to eliminate public trash cans in its stadiums, and measure the impact it had on waste diversion. Which makes us all the more jazzed to be renewing the partnership this year, and adding a few more things to the table. That’s right, we’re once again partnering with the Buffs to help bring a little “green” to the Black and Gold… and have a little fun along the way.
On top of the Green Stampede program, we’re also sponsoring the University’s Homegrown Hero’s program, which highlights athletes who’ve seen success at CU, and also grew up right here in Colorado. Check out this week’s honoree.
And we’ll also be sponsoring the new Family Fun Zone area at Folsom; a great spot for activities to help burn some energy before you get into the stadium before the game.
Check out some of the photos below from the Fun Zone at last week’s game, and stay tuned to The Grazing Mind for more around our Partnership with CU throughout the season.
I get the same elated feeling when I find five dollars in my pocket as I do when I open the refrigerator at dinnertime and find a homemade, pre-prepared meal already waiting for me. Leftovers and their trusty ally the microwave can relieve any distressed person needing to get food on the table quickly. I’m an advocate for using any leftovers—it is efficient and waste-free. But a recent New York Times article informed me that I am missing a further opportunity to take advantage of leftovers’ potential.
Stem-to-root cooking accepts all parts of fruits, vegetables, and legumes as edible, a no-waste philosophy on foods’ capabilities. Stems, leaves, cobs, rinds, seeds, peels, and scraps still contain valuable nutrients and flavors that can be incorporated in delicious and healthful recipes. Anything else, of course, is compostable.
Here at WhiteWave, we take a stand for leftovers’ efficiencies as well, both in our eating, living, and office habits. Through our partnership with Eco-Cycle, paper, cardboard, trash, food, and other waste produced at the office are all diverted to appropriate recycling or composting locations. Even liquid refuse in drains is pumped into liquid composters. In 2010, WhiteWave’s recycling and composting program diverted over 115,000 pounds of waste from landfills.
Another key cornerstone of WhiteWave’s green campaign for a zero-waste operation is reusability. That means using reusable mugs, water bottles, grocery bags, and dishes to cut out constantly trashing plastic bags and paper dishware. Even my zippy work station and desk chair are over 90% recyclable. (Hopefully that information doesn’t ignite any office pranks around here.)
Start a compost pile in your backyard, try a fennel and carrot frond salad, or switch out that plastic water bottle for a reusable one. Wise use of leftovers can cut costs, increase efficiencies, and make a little change in our environment.
How do you use leftovers?
We’ve talked about the Wafe Café a couple times here on TGM. It’s easily one of the things I love most about working in our headquarters building. Having access to a beautiful salad bar with fresh organic veggies every day can’t be beat. (Okay, neither can the pizza bar, grill station or deli, but I digress.)
Yesterday, we held a meeting for all employees. We do that every quarter. Our president kicks off the meetings, and then various employees provide updates on their respective pieces of the business. It’s a cool way to find out what’s going on at the company. Also cool, the BBQ out back after the meeting. It was catered by our fabulous folks in the Wave Café and in keeping with our commitment to zero-waste recycling we made sure Eco-Cycle zero-waste stations were prominent so that employees could dispose of their lunch scraps outside – just like they do every day at the café and in our break rooms.
The neat thing is Eco-Cycle captured and provide a snapshot of the benefits of our recycling and composting efforts just for that single lunch (they track this stuff for us annually, too.) Get this, just for that one lunch, our employees:
- Recovered 146 pounds of materials – that’s 97% of everything we discarded!
- Saved 2 gallons of gasoline in energy savings
- Saved 310 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions; and
- Avoided 46 pounds of substances that threaten human health
Now that’s something to chew on.