Sustainability kick at Swangard Stadium


Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Whitecaps FC are kicking off a waste reduction program, GreenZone Sustainability Kick, during the Whitecaps doubleheader at Swangard Stadium this Friday, June 12.

The GreenZone Sustainability Kick pilot program aims to divert 95 per cent of all solid waste produced at Swangard Stadium on Whitecaps match days. For example changing single-use items, such as creamer packets, to reusable options like cream jugs; the use of metal utensils instead of plastic utensils by hospitality catering, which will reduce the amount of non-recyclable items that enter the stadium; as well as capturing all materials that can be recycled or composted like beverage cans and cardboard containers.

“Our objective, as with all of our Zero Waste Challenge initiatives, is to get people to shift from disposable to sustainable behaviour,” said Metro Vancouver Waste Management Committee Chair Marvin Hunt. “The most frequent question we get about reducing waste is ‘how’? We’re working with the Whitecaps and the City of Burnaby to provide the means for fans to source-separate the recyclables and compostables left from their game-time snacks.”

Currently, more than three-quarters of the material being hauled to landfills after Whitecaps home matches passes through the hands of fans, and a significant portion of it is left in the stadium stands. Only about 10 per cent of the waste generated at each game is currently diverted, with 400 kilograms of material taken to a landfill.

The GreenZone Sustainability Kick starts with ensuring concessionaires are providing meals and beverages in recyclable or compostable containers. Signs throughout the stadium will direct fans to the Zero Waste Stations, where fans can separate their containers into bins for recycling, deposit returns, and composting.

“We jumped at the opportunity to partner with Metro Vancouver and this will help us educate our staff, players and fans on how to drastically cut the amount of waste at our matches,” said Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi. “Everyone has to take more responsibility for the waste we create and we will be communicating this message in a fun and creative way.”

The City of Burnaby, owners of the stadium, worked with their Food and Beverage staff to reduce waste at the source by supplying bulk instead of single-serving condiments. City staff will also follow new guidelines when cleaning the stadium after games.

Metro Vancouver retained Evergreen Sports Programming Ltd. to undertake the Swangard Stadium pilot based on their experience, with similar initiatives across Canada. Lessons learned will inform Metro Vancouver’s draft guidelines for waste reduction in small stadiums and arenas. Proven best practices will eventually be shared with Metro Vancouver’s 22 member municipalities for adoption in arenas and sports facilities throughout the region.

This Friday, the Whitecaps women host Los Angeles Legends at 5 p.m. PDT, while the men kick off against Miami FC Blues at 8 p.m. PDT. Whitecaps individual match tickets start at just $18 and are available at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centres, online at ticketmaster.ca, and by phone at 604.280.4400 or 1.800.663.9311. Visit whitecapsfc.com for information on match tickets.