Rethinking the Supply Chain: Uncovering Value with a Zero Waste-to-Landfill Initiative at Wallace Wade Football Stadium
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Executive Summary In response to growing concerns over climate change and natural resource depletion, and increased public interest in corporate responsibility, there is a movement within the athletics industry to increase operational efficiencies and lower environmental impacts. One of the ways that the industry is tackling this endeavor is by pursuing the goal of zero-waste-to-landfill within their operations including sporting venues. A stadium presents a unique venue for value creation, with a relatively predictable waste stream, steady consumer engagement, and a high-profile nature that lends itself to creative solutions for inter-team competition and fan engagement. There are also significant savings to be had by tightening inefficiencies in waste management operations, as demonstrated in this study. Because venues and fan bases vary it is necessary to analyze the waste stream, looking both upstream (e.g., supplier packaging, stadium waste management regulation) and downstream (e.g., game attendee behavior, post-game waste disposal) to assess where the greatest opportunities for site-specific improvement exist. This study conducted such an examination of the waste streams at Wallace Wade Stadium, the home of the Duke University football team. It first examines best practices in the football industry through personal interviews and a literature review. Second, it analyzes current practices at the stadium, by looking at bin locations and visibility as well as game attendee behavior, and concession packaging material. Lastly, this study involved an experiment conducted during one of Duke University’s football games, in which several current management practices were modified. Recycling bins were made more visible, with varying levels of visibility examined. Game attendee engagement was further tested by modifying the packaging on nacho trays, one of the stadium’s best selling concession items. A training session was also held for post-game stadium cleaners, and impact on training was assessed. The results of this study suggest that by making certain changes to the game attendee – stadium interface, the University can benefit financially through reduced costs associated with off-site waste disposal. Additional minor changes made to the supply chain upstream can render Wallace Wade Stadium a zero-waste venue. The most effective means of waste reduction was the training of employees hired to clean the stadium after each game. After one training session, accuracy of correctly sorted trash and recycling doubled, and composting rates increased exponentially. Modifying the packaging (more specifically, the recyclability label) on nacho trays was minimally impactful. The recommendation drawn from this study is to increase recycling and compost accessibility in the stadium over the short-term, and minimize game attendee responsibility for waste sorting in the long-term. By modifying the packaging of items sold within the stadium to be 100% recyclable or compostable and simultaneously tightening regulation of items entering the stadium, Duke Athletics will eliminate the need for trash bins. Then, by reducing the number of waste receptacles available to the game attendee, Duke Athletics may shift reliance on trained employees to sort waste left inside the stadium into compost or recycling. This will reduce uncertainty of game attendee decision-making, and eliminating the costs associated with sorting and off-site disposal into Municipal Solid Waste Landfills.
CitationSchillo, Liza (2014). Rethinking the Supply Chain: Uncovering Value with a Zero Waste-to-Landfill Initiative at Wallace Wade Football Stadium. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/8555.
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Rights for Collection: Nicholas School of the Environment