Hawks game at State Farm Arena certified as 1st TRUE sporting event in world

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks game against the New York Knicks last month didn’t just stand out because of the match-up of the two great teams, but it was significant because of State Farm Arena’s effort for a greener environment.

The game on May 30 was the first sporting event ever to be earn a TRUE certification, which stands for Total Resource Use and Efficiency.

In order to become TRUE certified, an event must meet requirements from GBCI. These requirements include having a zero waste policy in place, having achieved an average of 90 percent or greater overall diversion from landfill, incineration (waste-to-energy) and the environment for solid, non-hazardous wastes. The event must reduce, reuse, recycle, compost and/or recover for productive use in nature or the economy, and meet all federal, state/provincial, and local solid waste and recycling laws and regulations. In addition, the project complies with all air, water and land discharge permits required for collection, handling or processing of materials and meets or exceeds through data documenting of waste diversion efforts and measurements.

The game on May 30, was a sold out crowd of 16,458 fans in attendance.

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“As we continue our journey in making State Farm Arena a zero-waste venue, we are grateful for our staff and fans who all worked together to earn this certification from GBCI,” said Sofi Armenakian, Director of Sustainability and Operations for the Hawks and State Farm Arena. “We recognize how important it is for sports to create change and know this is just another way how a sports venue can contribute positively and act sustainably in their community.”

The Hawks were assisted by various organizations such as the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM), which aids in creating various recycling solutions for the city of Atlanta. CompostNow who provides commercial composting solutions- CompostNow enables us to compost all of our compostable service ware, cutlery and packaging. In addition, the venue activated 15 volunteers, teachers from Jonesboro Middle School, who joined for the event as zero waste volunteers. In their roles, they aided guests at the venue in the process of properly sorting to reduce contamination. Additionally, Levy Restaurants, the official food and beverage partner of the Hawks and State Farm Arena, helped in the supply chain process. Pritchard Sports & Entertainment, the team’s official housekeeping partner, also assisted operationally with the collection and sorting of all materials.

“We all want the world to be a cleaner and healthier place for future generations, and we can’t accomplish this without bringing a critical focus to waste reduction and elimination efforts. TRUE seeks to instill a more circular economy and enable businesses and organizations to address these issues head on by defining, pursuing and achieving zero waste goals for their facilities,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO, USGBC and GBCI. “Reducing the negative impacts of waste on people and the environment will require organizations of all kinds to step up and demonstrate leadership by prioritizing policies, operations and actions that dramatically reduce waste and limit resource extraction and use upstream. The Hawks and State Farm Arena’s dedication to pursuing TRUE for Events certification is truly moving us closer to becoming a zero-waste community that’s healthier for us all.”

In February 2021, Hawks and State Farm Arena successfully diverted 97 percent of fan-generated waste during the 2021 NBA All-Star Game with the help of Rubicon, a software platform that provides waste, recycling and smart city solutions to businesses and governments worldwide.