Achieving sustainability beyond zero waste: A case study from a college football stadium

Christine Costello, Ronald G. McGarvey, Esma Birisci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Collegiate sporting venues have been leading efforts toward zero-waste events in pursuit of more sustainable operations. This study audited the landfill-destined waste generated at the University of Missouri (MU) football stadium in 2014 and evaluated the life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) and energy use associated with waste management options, including options that do and do not comply with zero-waste definitions. An estimated 47.3 metric tons (mt) of waste was generated, the majority (29.6 mt waste) came from off-site, pre-game food preparation activities; of which over 96 percent (%) was pre-consumer and un-sold food waste. The remaining 17.7 mt originated from inside the stadium; recyclable materials accounting for 43%, followed by food waste, 24%. Eleven waste management strategies were evaluated using theWaste Reduction Model (WARM). Results indicate that scenarios achieving zero waste compliance are not necessarily the most effective means of reducing GHG emissions or energy use. The two most effective approaches are eliminating edible food waste and recycling. Source reduction of edible food reduced GHGs by 103.1 mt (carbon dioxide equivalents) CO2e and generated energy savings of 448.5 GJ compared to the baseline. Perfect recycling would result in a reduction of 25.4 mt CO2e and 243.7 GJ compared to the baseline. The primary challenges to achieving these reductions are the difficulties of predicting demand for food and influencing consumer behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1236
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 14 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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