Courtesy State Farm Arena

State Farm Arena has become the first sports and entertainment venue in the world to earn certification as a zero waste facility.

The Downtown venue said in a press release that Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), a worldwide sustainability and health certification and credentialing body, had awarded the arena TRUE (Total Resource Use and Efficiency) Platinum certification.

The arena began the process in 2019 when it was only diverting 10% of fan-generated waste from landfills. Since May 2021, the venue has consistently diverted a minimum of 90% of all waste following Atlanta Hawks games, concerts, and other events.

The venue diverted more than 500,000 pounds of waste during Hawks’ home games throughout the 2021-22 NBA Season. The Hawks and venue worked closely with its recycling partner, Novelis, who provided guidance and operational knowledge to organize, sort, and recycle aluminum and other materials.

The venue was also assisted by local vendors including CompostNow, who provides commercial composting solutions, and Haulin’ Glass Recycling, which provides glass recycling services. Venue partners such as Levy Restaurants, the official venue’s food and beverage partner, helped in the supply chain process, and Pritchard Sports & Entertainment, the venue’s official housekeeping partner, also assisted operationally with the collection and sorting of all materials.

Other businesses that were integral in the effort include Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Salvation Army, WestRock, Waste Management, SA Recycling, Lighting Resources LLC and Rubicon Global.

Local organizations such as the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) aided in creating various recycling solutions for State Farm Arena. In addition, the venue activated dozens of volunteers throughout the season, such as teachers from Atlanta Public Schools, employees from State Farm and students from University of Georgia’s Department of Sustainability, who joined at various events as zero waste volunteers. In their roles, they aided guests at the venue in the process of properly sorting materials to reduce contamination.

“We are honored to receive TRUE Platinum certification from GBCI as we continue to set the standard as a global leader in the sports and entertainment industry,” said Brett Stefansson, Hawks’ EVP and General Manager of State Farm Arena.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.