Eagles Fans Tailgating

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1 Thing: Making your tailgate greener – with the greenest team in the NFL

Eating food out of a vehicle is central to the tailgating experience, so a pronounced carbon footprint is a given.

September 06, 2018 - 11:45 am
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By Rasa Kaye

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Welcome to football season! Home games mean parking lots at the Linc and local colleges will be swarming with moveable feasts from the make-shift to the magnificent from now until the playoffs end. Eating food out of a vehicle is central to the experience, so a pronounced carbon footprint is a given – even your hybrid has to be driven to the lot. But there’s increasing support for making pre-game picnics more sustainable in other ways.

Research shows 95% of tailgaters prepare their food at the stadium. There’s a universe of camping equipment that works for tailgate grilling but for more liquid foods, consider the virtues of the new WonderBag, an eco-friendly slow cooker that uses heat-retention: food is brought to a boil, simmered a few minutes, then put into the WonderBag to continue cooking for hours, without the use of additional electricity or fuel.

Even if only 5% of tailgaters are picking up some form of prepared food, that can mean a lot of pizza boxes. Venues hosting an NFL or college football game ask tailgaters to dispose of their debris in the proper trash and recycling containers while other groups challenge them to plan for less trash.

This year, the non-profit Do Something organization is signing up game-day partiers to commit to a trash-free tailgate: by bringing reusable cups and containers and serving finger food to make cutlery unnecessary, in addition to bagging up recyclables in biodegradable bags. The goal is no trash to dispose of by game time, and plenty of sustainability-satisfying selfies to post at Do Something’s social channels to inspire and engage like-minded football fans.

The Linc has been 100% landfill free for three years, in part due to the efforts of their Green Team, a group of attentive sorters who start picking as soon as the first full trash bags are pulled from receptacles. While the fans are cheering, they’re poring: from aluminum foil to aluminum cans, plastic bottles to plastic cups, the team breaks it down and places it in five categorized bins at a designated sorting station located outside the stadium for every possible recyclable, plus the compostable waste the workers identify.

The Eagles are one of the greenest teams in the NFL, starting with their home field. The Linc’s 11,000 solar panels plus -- 14 wind turbines -- make it far and away the largest solar power plant in the NFL. Solar energy online marketplace Energy Sage says last year Lincoln Financial Field served up 3,000 kilowatts of electricity, (which happens to be three times the energy cranked out by the New England Patriots’ Gillette Stadium.  Just sayin'.)

Cheering E-A-Green-L-E-S might be a little much, but there are plenty of ways to support the team’s environmental efforts while enjoying pre-game good times. Send us your ideas.