recycling beverage hawker
In some ballparks this summer, "recycling hawkers" will collect recyclable cans and bottles.
Photo courtesy of Anheuser-Busch and Weber Shandwick.

Anheuser-Busch funds recycling competition

Brewer organizes recycling program for Major League Baseball and National Football League.

St. Louis-based brewer and beverage producer Anheuser-Busch has launched a program involving Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Football League (NFL) teams designed as a “multi-sports league coalition aiming to reduce waste on game day.”

The beverage maker says its National Recycling League “will leverage the scale and reach of the brewer's professional sports team and league partnerships to elevate how the beverage industry encourages recycling. The National Recycling League aims to create meaningful connections between Anheuser-Busch’s brands including Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra, its league and team partners, and sports fans nationwide to raise awareness of the need for recycling and drive key recycling behaviors among consumers wherever they cheer on their favorite team – whether it’s in-stadium, at home or at a neighborhood bar.”

Comments Brendan Whitworth, CEO of Anheuser-Busch, “At Anheuser-Busch, we approach everything we do – including sustainability – with an innovation mindset so that we can create an outsized impact. Through the National Recycling League, we are thrilled to bring together our team partners and sports fans to work towards a shared dream of a future with less game day waste and more cheers.”

The company says more than 10 MLB teams – including the St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals – have signed on as inaugural members of the National Recycling League.

Participating teams have committed to adopting and implementing techniques to improve recycling rates at stadiums to help divert recyclable materials such as beer bottles and cans. Methods include offering recyclable aluminum cups to fans and placing in-seat recycling decals and in-stadium signage with the “Recycle Like a Champion” slogan.

“Major League Baseball and our clubs are excited to collaborate with Anheuser-Busch on the launch of their National Recycling League initiative,” said Paul Hanlon, MLB’s senior director of ballpark operations and sustainability. “This commitment to environmental stewardship by our long-term partner perfectly aligns with our continued efforts to bring more recycling options and sustainable practices to our ballparks.”

Anheuser-Busch says some MLB teams will be introducing “recycling hawkers” who will be deployed in stadiums to collect used cups, cans and bottles from fans to ensure they are recycled. Recycling hawker volunteers from Keep America Beautiful will encourage fans to hand over their recyclables.

“As a longstanding partner of Anheuser-Busch, we applaud the action to improve communities by reducing waste in sporting arenas across the country,” says Becky Lyons, interim CEO of Connecticut-based Keep America Beautiful. “Our team of volunteers are energized and excited to step into the new recycling hawker role and help make it easy for fans at sporting events to recycle properly.”

Anheuser-Busch says some MLB teams “will compete head-to-head in a new way as the brewer calls on MLB fans to join the National Recycling League and recycle their bottles and cans, with the winning city getting a round of beer on Anheuser-Busch.”

The city of the participating team which has the highest recycling rate during home games from Opening Day through May 31 will get a round of beer on Anheuser-Busch in celebration of their commitment to reducing waste on game day, says the brewery.

Looking ahead, Anheuser-Busch plans to work with teams in the NLF “to enlist them to participate in the National Recycling League as the 2022 NFL season kicks off.”

The National Recycling League builds on Anheuser-Busch’s 2025 sustainability goals and ties into its membership in the -based Green Sports Alliance, says the beverage producer. By 2025, Anheuser-Busch has committed that 100 percent of its packaging will be made from majority recycled content or will be returnable.

“The Green Sports Alliance is inspired by Anheuser-Busch’s 2025 Sustainability goals and its new National Recycling League program to motivate millions of fans to help improve recycling rates in stadiums across the nation through the power of sports,” says Roger McClendon, executive director of the Portland, Oregon-based organization. “We are eager to support the National Recycling League in partnership with Green Sports Alliance programs like Play To Zero to amplify the message and impact of this zero waste initiative across our membership of sports leagues, clubs and teams.”