8 Ways to Green Your Super Bowl

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This story is part of Earth911’s “Green Eight” series, where we showcase eight ways to green your life in various areas.

Are you ready for some football? Well to be fair, the Super Bowl is much more than just a football game. It’s a media spectacle, a party gatherer and, for one U.S. city each year, a tourism gold mine.

But it also has an environmental footprint the size of a 350-pound defensive lineman. No matter how you’re celebrating this year, here are eight ways to see green on more than just the football field:

1. Play Like the Pros

The National Football League (NFL) sets a good eco-example in game preparation, whether it be producing a carbon neutral game or collecting gear for organizations in the host city. But these measures don’t account for the fans, so what are you doing this year to offset your impact?

If you’re heading to Tampa to watch this year’s Super Bowl live, think about green travel options, and keep in mind that many airlines and car rental agencies provide carbon offset plans to let you balance out your travel with an investment in renewable energy. If watching at home, your impact could probably be balanced by something as minor as planting a tree in the backyard.

2. Rethink Your Snacks

Domino’s Pizza sales jump 30 percent on Super Bowl Sunday, and other pizza retailers see similar sales increases. But those oil-stained pizza boxes are not recyclable despite the fact that cardboard usually has tremendous recycling value. Instead, how about making your own pizza without the box? Other eco-friendly snacks include compostable veggies with homemade dip and organic beer, and don’t forget to set up recycling bins for aluminum cans and glass/plastic bottles.

3. Bet Online

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest betting days of the year, and you’re likely to escape breaking state laws by placing bets over the Internet. You’ll also save the paper used to print odds sheets and betting slips. You can even host a Super Bowl pool online to keep printing low – plus, it’s tougher to cheat in a computer pool.

Touchdown! Get your chips, beer and recycle bin ready for a green Super Bowl!
Touchdown! Get your chips, beer and recycle bin ready for a green Super Bowl! - Juneauempire.com

4. Recycle Your “Small-Screen” TV

You may be inclined to spruce up this year’s Super Bowl party with a new big-screen TV, and you’re not alone. Retailers in the U.S. see increased sales of televisions by 60 percent during Super Bowl week, and this year, expect even more sales with the digital switch just weeks after the game.

Keep in mind you can also rent big-screens for the Big Game, which don’t come with all that plastic packaging (and at a lower price than a new set). If you do make the long-term purchase, donate your old TV for reuse or recycle it (use Earth911 to find a location near you). You’ll keep lead, mercury and other e-waste byproducts out of landfills.

5. Get the Word Out but Keep the Trees Standing

Having a gang over for the Big To-Do? As far as shindigs go, a good ol’ Super Bowl party ain’t no Inauguration Ball, so skip the fancy trimmings and get on the phone or email. Formal invitations aren’t needed to invite your friends over for some snacks, brewskis and quarterback sacks. Some of our favorite online invitation sites include:

Don’t just stop at the invites. Make sure to keep the three R’s (reduce, reuse and recycle) in all your party plans!

6. Don’t Flush Money Down the Drain

Super Bowl time is a great time to think about the toilet. Why, you ask? Well, whether or not you believe in the “Halftime Flush” theory (that 90 million people flush toilets during halftime of the Super Bowl), it definitely spotlights an area of the house that can get a lot of use when a major event is going on.

If you haven’t already, investing in a water-efficient toilet can help increase money flow over time. In fact, you can recoup your initial investment in as little as two years, since low-flow toilets have a 50 percent ROI, and save $25 annually. Add to that a low-flow faucet with a payback time of 3 years and an annual savings of $100 per year, and you’ve got a pretty efficient restroom on your hands. Though useful on more then just Superbowl Sunday, the money you could save from water saved during the “big flush” may take the edge off if your team loses!

7. Celebrate Moderately

No matter the sport, there is a consistent relationship between championships and alcohol consumption. Whether you’re into a great mug of beer or a classy glass (or box) of wine, you’re bound to create a heap of trash while enjoying Super Bowl spirits. Glass, aluminum cans and paperboard are all recyclable materials, so make sure you remember to put them in the right bin – even if you’re “trashed.”

8. Shop Light for Souvenirs

One thing the NFL hasn’t mastered yet is eco-friendly apparel, as it’s near impossible to find NFL-licensed gear that’s organically-grown or made of recycled content. So although it may be tempting to buy everything in sight when your team wins the Big Game, limit your shopping to one or two items. If you enjoy crafts, create your own memorabilia by sewing some licensed NFL logos on a recycled polyester jersey, which is likely made of recycled water bottles.

  • http://elementary-finance.com elementaryfinance

    Great ideas! I have to admit I love a good Dominos pizza but I had no idea that they couldn’t be recycled. Thanks for sharing great advice. I also like your flushing of money paragraph. Saving money is what we’re about on my site!

    Take care

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  • Laura

    why can’t pizza boxes be recycled???

  • http://www.olivasolutions.com Keith Bantle

    Laura- great question. There are two reasons pizza boxes potentially cannot be recycled. The first is that, depending on where you live, recyclers might not accept corrugated cardboard, but even if they do, they won’t take greasy boxes (or other paper products, for that matter). They also don’t take paper or boxes with sticky surfaces, like Post-it Notes.

    What I do is recycle as much of the pizza box as I can. I normally rip off the top lid and throw it in the trash if it has grease or cheese on it, then recycle the rest if it doesn’t have any stains.

  • Litz

    I’m extremely lucky to live in San Francisco where pizza boxes can be composted through the city’s composting program! The compost we produce goes north to the Napa and Sonoma wineries (among others) – from food to wine! How cool is that?

    We’re also going to make more of our snacks this year – less packaging to go in the garbage and a lot less money going out the door! Woohoo!

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  • Trey Granger

    Good news. It turns out the NFL is offering an “eco-friendly” T-shirt celebrating this year’s champion for the first time ever: http://earth911.com/blog/2009/01/28/reebok-to-release-green-super-bowl-tees/. Keep this in mind for tip #8.