Green Super Bowl means stadium will ban plastic cups, swapping for innovative new beverage holder

Thanks to a joint effort to make this year’s Super Bowl more environmentally friendly, San Francisco 49ers’ and Kansas City Chiefs’ fans who attend Super Bowl LIV this Sunday in Miami should expect to drink their beverages from aluminum cups, not plastic ones.

“A major effort is being undertaken by Super Bowl’s official concessions vendor Centerplate, in partnership with Bud Light and container manufacturer Ball Corporation, to supply 50,000 recyclable aluminum cups that will be served at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium for the Big Game,” Forbes confirmed on Thursday.

Behold these new cups below:

The goal is to reportedly “eliminate the need for the up to half a million plastic cups that would normally be used at a traditional Super Bowl” and onward.

In fact, if you attend the event this Sunday and wind up drinking a beverage from one of the aforementioned 50,000 recyclable aluminum cups, there’s a strong chance that somebody else’s lips will be bracing the cup’s brim in only a matter of months.

“After the game, aluminum cups will continue to be used during regular season Miami Dolphins games, the regular tenant of Hard Rock Stadium, as part of a wide-ranging initiative to phase out 99.4% of single-use plastics throughout the stadium operation by the end of 2020,” Forbes noted.

Centerplate, a major food and beverage vendor that serves customers across the globe, reportedly plans to extend the general use of aluminum cups to other events as well.

“These efforts were introduced at last season’s Tour De France and will be extended to other large scale events, including the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo this summer,” Centerplate CEO Nathalie Bellon-Szabo said in a statement.

And Ball Corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of recyclable metal food and beverage containers, reportedly plans to follow Centerplate on the ride.

“We’re proud to team up with Centerplate and Bud Light to bring fans at Hard Rock Stadium improved, sustainable hospitality with our game-changing and infinitely recyclable aluminum cup,” John A. Hayes, the company’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

“We developed the aluminum cup to ensure it meets the growing demand for more green products, and we’re excited that our partnership will give this year’s Super Bowl fans the opportunity to do better by the environment.”

But while the intention appears to be noble — even conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, a frequent critic of climate change dogma — has extolled the benefits of personal recycling, i.e., people recycling at their home — it’s not clear whether the plan will prove fruitful.

One concern raised by critics has been disease.

MarketWatch notes that the single-use paper cup (which was soon followed by the single-use plastic cup) was originally developed in the early 1990s “after scientists realized that diseases such as cholera and diphtheria were spreading because people were sharing communal cups at public water fountains.”

Who would be cleaning the recyclable aluminum cups being used by Centerplate? What cleaning solutions would they use? Have the cleaning solutions been shown to eliminate all potentially transmittable diseases, viruses, bacteria, etc.?

And what about the Coronavirus — would football patrons who drink from the cups be at a higher risk of catching the virus?

Another concern that’s been raised is resource consumption. While it’s tempting to assume that fewer resources would be expended producing recyclable products versus disposable ones, such sorts of assumptions haven’t always proven to be true.

Last summer, for instance, teen climate change activist Greta Thunberg earned worldwide praise for taking a so-called “zero-carbon yacht” trip to attend a United Nations summit in New York about climate change. But it turned out to be a farce.

“Greta Thunberg’s plan for carbon-free travel was contradicted when her sailboat captain flew across the Atlantic Ocean to pick her up,” the Washington Examiner reported at the time.

“The plan for ‘zero emissions’ travel was subverted when Thunberg’s yacht captain, Nikki Henderson, 26, flew to the United States from England, burning roughly two or three tons of carbon CO2 in the process. Thunberg and her father, who has traveled North America throughout his daughter’s activist tour, could have flown aboard the same flight and burned just as much CO2.”

Appearances can be deceiving. In the case of the recyclable aluminum cups that are to be used at the Super Bowl, however, it seems the appearances are 100 percent accurate.

“Aluminum is considered to be the most sustainable material due to the little energy it takes to recycle. What’s more, it can be recycled indefinitely, experts say,” Fox News notes. “According to The Aluminum Association, a trade group, nearly 75 percent of aluminum produced in the United States is still in use today.

That’s an impressive number.

Of course, Centerplate could just hand out recyclable water bottles and soda cans, but that would obviously make it much harder for them to earn a profit. Speaking of which, it’s not clear whether the use of recyclable aluminum cups will have any effect on the price of beverages.

Vivek Saxena

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