KNOXVILLE, TN (July 9) -- Nearly a third of Americans would be more likely to attend a game or concert at a stadium if they learned that all of the trash left behind was recycled or composted, according to national survey results released today.
One in five would also buy more concessions, the survey found.
Just as there is a carrot for stadiums to divert trash from landfills, there’s also a stick: Nearly one out of five Americans said they would be less likely to attend another concert or game if they learned all of the trash left behind went straight to a landfill. One quarter said they’d buy fewer concessions.
“A significant number of fans care about the environment, and they’ll vote with their feet -- and their beer cups,” said Suzanne Shelton, founder and CEO of Shelton Group, which conducted the survey. “With more than 200 million American going to go sports events every year – and some 50 million attending concerts -- this has major implications.”
At stake are tens of millions of dollars in ticket and concession sales, as well as tons of wasted resources.
Sports fans and concertgoers leave an estimated 16 million cubic feet of trash behind every year. That’s enough to fill Yankee Stadium and leave another 2 million cubic feet of garbage on the streets outside.
The survey is the first of its kind to measure Americans’ opinions on trash left behind at stadiums and concerts.
“We have a lot of anecdotal evidence of fans wanting stadiums to do more recycling and composting, but this is the first time we’ve had real data,” said Wendell Simonson, Vice President of Marketing for Eco-Products, which makes compostable plates, cups and utensils. “Some stadiums and venues are ahead of the curve, such as Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheater and Seattle’s Safeco Field. But there are a lot of others that may want to do more.”
Safeco Field in Seattle (home of the Mariners) is ahead of the curve. The stadium diverted more than 90 percent of its trash from landfills during the 2013 season.
The Shelton Group’s survey polled 2,015 Americans and has a 2.18 percent margin of error. Among its findings:
Asked: “How would you react if you learned that all of the trash left behind after a game or concert you attended was sorted… with recyclables and compostables being diverted away from landfills?”
- 46 percent said it would improve their opinion of the stadium or venue owners.
- 32 percent said they would be more likely to attend another game or concert at the stadium or venue.
- 22 percent said they would be more likely to buy concessions at the stadium or venue the next time.
- 22 percent said it would improve their opinion of the team or band.
Asked: “How would you react if you learned that all of the trash left behind after a game or concert you attended went straight to a landfill, without any sorting, recycling or composting efforts?”
- 42 percent said they would blame the stadium or venue owners – and it would tarnish their opinion of them.
- 26 percent said they would be less likely to buy concessions at that stadium or venue
- 17 percent said they would be less likely to attend another game or concert at the stadium or venue.
“We know Americans feel a lot of ‘green guilt,’ and walking up the steps of a stadium littered with trash going to the local landfill just stirs that internal guilt pot,” Shelton said. “Stadium owners, teams and bands have an opportunity to be the absolvers of the guilt -- by not only serving concessions in compostable and recyclable serveware, but also in publicizing their system to properly dispose of all that trash left behind.
“It gives sports and music fans a hall pass in a way. They can do a little something for the environment -- instead of contributing to the problem – by simply buying a beer,” Shelton added. “And who doesn’t want another reason to feel good about having a beer?”
About Shelton Group
Shelton Group is the nation's leading marketing communications firm entirely focused in the energy-efficiency and sustainability space.
The firm studies Americans on an ongoing basis and tracks their shifting attitudes and motivations around all things green and uses those insights to help some of America’s most progressive companies define and leverage their sustainability stories to gain a market advantage.
Visit www.sheltongrp.com/eco-pulse to learn more.