When Wildcats fans exit the newly built Wildcat Stadium following the football team’s first home game against Holy Cross Sept. 10, they’ll leave with fond memories of a great game. But there’s one thing that won’t leave the stadium: bags and bags of landfill-clogging garbage. That’s because the new stadium is a zero-waste facility.
When UNH alumni, staff, students and others gathered Aug. 25 for Wildcat Stadium’s soft opening, they got an up-close look at the venue’s impressive features: seating for 11,011 fans, a spacious victory club and a 30-foot by 50-foot high-definition video scoreboard, among others. But perhaps most impressive of all is the venue’s commitment to generating as little waste as possible.
“We’re trying to compost all the food, all the paper products and utensils — anything that can be composted,” said David May, associate vice president of business affairs. “And then not throwing much of anything into a landfill.”
The centerpiece of the initiative are the 14 concession windows operated by UNH hospitality services. Hungry fans can get a variety of snacks, including homemade potato chips, served in compostable paper containers. Drinks are served in compostable Greenwave cups.
“Everything we’re serving is either compostable or recyclable,” says Bill McNamara, executive director of hospitality services. “Nothing purchased from our facility is going in the trash.”
Achieving that goal required some tough choices. It’s cheaper and easier to buy prepackaged food and drinks. But those products aren’t as good — and they generate a lot of waste, McNamara adds.
“We think we can serve a better product,” he says.
And while the players are out on the field, another team will be working in the stadium to ensure that all the garbage ends up going where it should. According to McNamara, “bin goalies” — members of student groups and other volunteers — will be on hand during events to educate guests and keep the zero-waste system working.
Double the seats, quadruple the toilets. See what else has changed at Wildcat Stadium. Infographic
Sustainability is one of the university’s core values, according to May, and the new stadium presented an opportunity to do something that hadn’t been done at UNH. And as fans enjoy the stadium’s other impressive stats — 24,400 feet of fiber-optic cable, 864 box seats, a state of the art sound system — they can also enjoy making a big impact on sustainability.
“It’s an unbelievable venue for fans and the team,” says Steve Metcalf, deputy athletic director. “We’re excited to have fans here to enjoy it.”
Get tickets for the Sept. 10 football game versus Holy Cross.