No More Plastic Cups: Eco-Products, Minnesota Twins

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Team Up to Make Target Field Even Greener

In another step to minimize the waste generated at Target Field, the Minnesota Twins and Eco-Products have partnered on an innovative new effort to turn tons of fans’ trash into fertile soil — rather than piling up in area landfills.

Eco-Products, based in Boulder, Co., is supplying hundreds of thousands of compostable cups, plates, trays, utensils and straws at Target Field. Now virtually all packaging used at Target Field will be either compostable or recyclable.

Much of the packaging used in the ballpark relies on a material called Ingeo™, a compostable resin made by a company called NatureWorks headquartered a short distance from Target Field in Minnetonka, MN.

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“We’re proud to partner with Eco-Products as we continue to improve the sustainability of Target Field – the greenest ballpark in America,” said Laura Day, Executive Vice President of Business Development for the Twins.

While plastic bottles and aluminum will still be recycled, all other concessions-related products can be composted at Target Field. That includes beer cups, soft drink cups, coffee cups, plates, trays, spoons, knives, forks, lids and straws.

The new effort actually simplifies things for fans. All plates, utensils and trays can go into the same compostable bin – along with any leftover food.

“It’s hard to get fans to first scrape the cheese off a plastic plate – and then toss the cheese in one bin and the plate into another,” said Wendell Simonson, Vice President of Marketing for Eco-Products. “The key to maximizing waste diversion in a stadium is to make it as easy as possible for fans.”

The new partnership will help the Twins realize an even more impressive waste diversion rate than the 73 percent mark achieved in 2014. A key part of the effort: special bins around the stadium, making it easy for fans to toss out the compostable packaging and leftover food.

“Only a systematic approach to packaging, or one that enables everything outside of recyclables like bottles and cans to be compostable, makes waste diversion rates of 90 percent or above possible,” Simonson said. “Keeping things simple is crucial to making this work.”

The initiative is not only good for the environment, it could also be good for concession sales. A national survey found one in five Americans would buy more beer, soft drinks and nachos at a stadium if they learned that all of the trash left behind was recycled or composted.

“These products make it incredibly easy for fans to compost their waste products,” said Pete Spike, General Manager of Delaware North Sportservice. “Ultimately this partnership will help us reduce our conversion rates and minimize our impact on the environment.”

Communication to fans about where to put their items after use is a crucial to making an effort like this work. All of the compostable products at the ballpark have either been specially branded for Target Field, or feature Eco-Products artwork that shows consumers how these products are different.

All of which serves as a reminder about conserving natural resources.

“There’s no better time to reach fans than when they’re taking in a baseball game and enjoying a cold beer,” Simonson said. “They’re holding a cup and seeing that it doesn’t have to go to a landfill. That’s a powerful feeling to be part of something good.”

Source: Eco-Products®, Inc., www.ecoproducts.com

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