What Happens To All Those Bottle Caps After the Game?

iStock-588598098 - Fans Cheering In Stadium MEDIUM

If You’re the World Champion Philadelphia Eagles, You Recycle Them…

Every Sunday during pro football season, tens of thousands of fans descend upon enormous stadiums, consuming a wide assortment of food and drink—including thousands of bottled soft drinks.

Ever wonder what happens to those bottle caps after the game? If you’re the world champion Philadelphia Eagles, you recycle them.

In their 2018 season, the Eagles teamed up with local plastics maker Braskem, whose North American headquarters is in downtown Philadelphia, to collect the polypropylene bottle caps at Lincoln Financial Field. Before serving soft drinks to the fans, concessionaires remove the bottle caps and toss them into specialized bins. The caps are shipped 30 miles outside of the city to a plastics recycler, where they are ground up, chopped into flakes, washed, dried, and turned into recycled plastic pellets.

This isn’t the team’s first foray into sustainable practices. What started out with blue recycling bins under each employee’s desk in 2003 has turned into a company-wide sustainability program. Under their Go Green program, the Eagles divert nearly all of the waste generated in their stadium from landfills and generate 100% percent of the team’s operations energy from solar and wind power.

“We are continually looking to grow and expand our sustainability initiatives,” said Philadelphia Eagles President Don Smolenski. “Our partnership with Braskem has opened up a new opportunity that further enhances our Go Green Program and allows us to create a closed-loop recycling program; in this case, for bottle caps. This innovative and practical insight is a tremendous new element that enhances our sustainability program.”

bottle caps, caps and closures

Bottle caps will be collected at all stadium events (professional and college football, soccer, lacrosse, concerts, etc.), as well as the team’s practice facility. The material will be recycled into new material for the stadium.

One immediate result of this recycling/sustainability partnership: an eight-foot tall replica of the Vince Lombardi Trophy, commemorating the Eagles World Championship, made by 3-D printers with recycled plastics. The statue is housed in an interactive zone on Lincoln Financial Field’s Headhouse Plaza, where fans can learn about plastics recycling and other sustainability initiatives.

The partnership will also create an online education platform for 30 Philadelphia-area county schools to teach students about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) career opportunities. Chemical and plastics production are highly technical professions—the partnership seeks to create qualified employee candidates and “to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders.”

To further engage the middle-schoolers, school teams are collecting plastic bottle caps in a “cap-etition” to see which school can help recycle the most. The teams will be vying for tickets to an Eagles game, school supplies, and student scholarships.

“Our partnership with the Philadelphia Eagles has expanded Braskem’s sustainability efforts in the U.S.,” said Mark Nikolich, CEO Braskem North America. “We are proud to partner with this organization that values sustainability as much as Braskem and understands the importance of making sustainability a priority. We hope the development of this closed-loop recycling program will engage and educate the local community about the benefits of recycling and plastics.

“In addition, Braskem is committed to STEM education and is honored to be a part of creating a STEM program that will encourage students around the Philadelphia area to pursue STEM in their studies and future careers.”

For more information: www.philadelphiaeagles.com/braskem