The Super Bowl is coming to Phoenix this year, and the city has recycling plans for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) waste generated by game-related events. Super Bowl LVII will take place at State Farm Stadium in the Greater Phoenix area on Feb. 12, 2023.
Through an existing partnership with Direct Pack Inc. (DPI), the city will reclaim and recycle the PET bottles and other PET packaging generated by Phoenix-area Super Bowl events, which are expected to generate an extra 2,000 tons of waste. The city’s sustainability goal for Super Bowl LVII is 92% waste diversion.
In the past two years, Phoenix has worked with DPI and material recovery facilities (MRFs) in that region to reclaim more than 16 million pounds of post-consumer PET. The Phoenix area — including Prescott, Peoria, and Avondale — produces an estimated 1 million tons of waste each year and processes recyclables from more than 400,000 households.
“DPI’s partnership with the city of Phoenix, its MRF operations, and residents is a remarkable success story for the recovery and reprocessing of recycled PET plastic packaging,” said Craig Snedden, president of DPI, in a prepared statement.
Phoenix sets example for other communities
“Our goal is to keep as much recycled PET material out of landfills as possible by reclaiming it from MRFs and turning it into brand new, certified food-grade packaging,” Snedden added. “The city of Phoenix taking a leadership role in collecting PET packaging is critical to our ability to make plastic a truly circular material, and we need more communities around the country to follow its lead.”
DPI manufactures sustainable, customized thermoformed food packaging and operates Direct Pack Recycling (DPR), a PET reclaiming and recycling operation. DPR specializes in recycling thermoformed PET packaging, including cups, clamshells, and trays, thus providing a resource for non-bottle PET recycling.
DPR, which currently has the capacity to recycle 20,000 tons of PET annually, supplies recycled PET to DPI’s multiple extrusion and manufacturing sites. The recycled PET is re-manufactured into new food packaging in a circular business model.
Grant helps fund second recycling facility
DPR received a grant from the Recycling Partnership’s PET Recycling Coalition during that organization’s first funding round in August 2022. The grant will help with the construction of DPR’s second PET reclamation facility.
DPR’s original recycling plant is in Guadalajara, Mexico. The new one will be built in Mexicali, Mexico.
The Mexicali facility will source material from MRFs across the United States and produce 15,000 tons of recycled content for new packaging.
“We take extended producer responsibility very seriously. The Recycling Partnership grant allows us to scale our recycling operations more quickly, and take in even more PET plastic from MRFs, keeping it out of landfills,” Snedden said. “Every step we can take to reclaim, recycle, and reuse the plastic out there will help us ensure a cleaner, safer environment for generations to come.”