More Beer. Less Waste.

by Carol Baroudi
Apr 27, 2015 2:30 PM ET

Arrow | Value Recovery

It’s hard to get closer to the core of America than with American sports fans. If America actually has a top religion, it would have to be sports, given the number of devotees, the hours of worship spent, the dollars contributed, the passion, the zeal and, in some cases, the blind faith. So when data arrives indicating that a good chunk of Americans (more than a third of the 2,000+ surveyed) espouse environmental preferences in their sporting and entertainment events, I pay attention.

When sustainability becomes as American as baseball and apple pie, we’ll know we’ve gotten somewhere. The good news, in this case, comes from a survey conducted by the Shelton Group and reported by the Environmental Leader. There are important lessons here for proprietors of public-facing establishments and producers of events for the public. A good chunk (back to the “more than a third”) really do care about environmental initiatives and indicate their opinions are favorably or unfavorably influenced by the environmentally responsible actions or inactions on the part of the venue or event. A percentage of those favorably impressed say they are more likely to attend another event and buy more from concessions.

The trick is the trash. We all know that sustainability spans a lot more than waste, but to the consuming public, what you do with your waste matters. The Environmental Leader article states that “Fans leave an estimated 16 million cubic feet of trash behind every year.” Where does that go? Typically to a landfill, requiring landfill fees, which is a lot like throwing good money after bad. Sort that trash into recyclables and compost and much of what has gone to a landfill can enjoy a new life.

Sports and entertainment events are not the only focus of environmentally aware consumers. For restaurants, resorts, hotels – anywhere the consumer has a choice – environmental actions are noted and commented on. A very high-end resort on Cape Cod got this remark.

“Great resort – friendly staff – wonderful landscaping and decent rooms. Some areas on the resort do need a facelift though. Unfortunately this is the only resort I have ever been to that doesn’t recycle, which bothered me. A high-class resort that isn’t up to this century on recycling is a shame.”

When organizations such as the Green Sports Alliance take leadership responsibility in organizations such as e-Stewards, you know that fans are clamoring for more than green face paint. And as we say in Massachusetts, this is wicked good news.