Reduce Waste at Tailgates

Group of people tailgating

Tailgating at sports events can be as big a draw as the game itself, as fans gather in parking lots across the country for food, drinks, and fun. But unfortunately, all that celebrating can lead to lots of food and packaging waste. In fact, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, some large college stadiums can generate 100 tons of waste per game.

Tailgating doesn’t have to result in trash bags full of wasted food and packaging. Here are some simple steps you can take at your tailgates to reduce waste on game day and divert valuable material from landfills:

Airtight Packaging

By choosing airtight packaging, such as zipper bags, factory-sealed pouches, cling wrap, and reusable storage containers, you can help keep food fresh and free of contaminates that could cause spoilage—making it less likely that food will need to be thrown out.

Minimalist Packaging

Recent innovations in plastics are leading to new, minimalist packaging designs that can protect food with less material, which helps reduce packaging waste. When shopping for your next tailgate, look for thin, lightweight pouches and bags for game day foods, such as nuts, cheeses, and deli meats, just to name a few.

Lightweight Bottles and Containers

When buying beverages, remember that lightweight plastic bottles and containers are shatter-resistant, which contributes to safety and helps prevent waste. They also typically use less material than alternatives, resulting in less packaging waste—plus, they’re accepted for recycling in most communities.


Remember to recycle! Place clearly labeled recycling bags or bins at your tailgate to remind everyone to recycle used plastic packaging and other recyclables. More and more, everyday plastic bottles and containers can be recycled in curbside programs, including beverage bottles, ketchup and mustard bottles, containers for sour cream and dip, deli containers, caps and lids, and so much more! Even plastic bags and wraps—grocery bags, zipper bags, bread and bun bags, wraps for cases of water and soft drinks—can be returned to participating grocery and retail stores for recycling. To find out what’s accepted for recycling in your area, check your community’s website or visit or

Recycled Products

To help divert valuable materials from landfills, seek out products made with recycled plastics. Thanks to increased plastics recycling, it’s easier than ever to find tailgating essentials made with recycled plastics, such as coolers, serving utensils, plates, cups and bowls.