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Episode 83: Building A Sustainable Super Bowl LV (Transcript)

November 17, 2020

10 Min Read

[00:00:00] Liz Bothwell: Hi everyone, welcome to Waste360's NothingWasted! Podcast. On every episode, we invite the most interesting people in waste recycling and organics to sit down with us and chat candidly about their thoughts, their work, this unique industry and so much more. Thanks for listening and enjoy this episode.


[00:00:26] Liz: Hi everyone. I'm super excited about this episode. I'm a huge football fan. I'm sure a lot of you are as well, so when I heard that Tampa Bay, who's hosting Super Bowl LV, had this amazing sustainability initiative planned, I had to hear more about it. Here's more information on that. It's with Katie Kicklighter and she works in events and she's part of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee. She's awesome. She gives us some insights and it really is a teaser because we will certainly follow up with her closer to the big game and after to get some statistics around food waste and other things. Anyway, give a listen and hope it gets you ready for the big game. I know we can all use something positive to look forward to.

Hi, everyone. This is Liz Bothwell from Waste360 and I'm with Katie Kicklighter, Manager of Hospitality & Events for the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee. Welcome, Katie, and thanks for being on the show today.  

[00:01:29] Katie Kicklighter: Hey there. Yes, thank you. I'm excited to be here and talk about the sustainability efforts that are happening alongside the big game.

[00:01:38] Liz: We're psyched to have you here and can't wait to hear all about it. First of all, how excited are you and your team to have the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay this year?  

[00:01:47] Katie: We cannot wait. This has been a long time coming for us and the planning starts years and years in advance. For it to finally be this close, we're really excited and obviously looking forward to everything that the Super Bowl brings to our community.  

[00:02:05] Liz: Great. Please, tell me about the Super Bowl Sustainability Program. It sounds amazing.  

[00:02:13] Katie: Yes. Every year, NFL Green, they kind of kicked off all these sustainability efforts and they've led those alongside the last 25-26 Super Bowl. When they come into town we're always really excited for the opportunity to work for them. The Host Committee, hand in hand, plans and to address the environmental impact of all the Super Bowl events, not just the game, but everything that comes alongside of it.

We really want to leave a lasting legacy on the Tampa Bay community, so we look at everything from waste reduction, food and material recovery, renewable energy offsets, and social impacts on the community. We do that all through various events and beautification projects, so it's really an all-encompassing approach. We just want to make sure we're doing our part to responsibly host these major events in our hometown.  

[00:03:05] Liz: It sounds like you thought of everything. Now, what type of goals do you have around the program?  

[00:03:14] Katie: The easiest way to explain our goals is through our Host Committee motto and this year, for Super Bowl, we're going forward, "Forever. Together", and that's how we want to use the big game as a platform that we can spread not only messaging about the importance of sustainability but, again, leave that positive impact on our community. It's all about influencing change and I think that starts with the education of ourselves and others within the community. We've worked closely with our community partners and, again, NFL Green to identify the key needs of our community and we're going to plan to address them through the sustainability program we've developed.  

[00:03:54] Liz: That's great. Do you know yet what you will be measuring? And what you will deem a success through this initiative?

[00:04:05] Katie: In the same way that we used community partners to identify our needs, we're going to rely on them pretty heavily to assist in measuring the success of the sustainability program. There's a ton of analytics that we can pull related to those food recovery efforts, whether it's pounds of food that are diverted from the landfill or put into the hands of those in need and our volunteer turnout numbers. There's so many different metrics that we can use.

I mentioned the carbon offsets that we'll be utilizing. TECO is one of our great partners. Tampa Electric is going to calculate all the power that goes into events and the game. We'll purchase solar energy blocks through a program that they have, that's another thing that we're calculating. Again, we're just so lucky to have these amazing organizations in our community. In addition to the data they collect, that spread of awareness is going to be another key performance indicator for residents and fans alike.

[00:05:04] Liz: Definitely. It sounds like you're well versed in this and your stadium is as well. Have you run these types of programs previously?

[00:05:16] Katie: The stadium initiatives are all spearheaded by NFL Green and Jack and Susan Groh, they're the program directors there. They're going to work closely with the Bucks and Tampa Bay Sports authority to make sure that Raymond James Stadium is ready to host the Super Bowl and ready to do it as environmentally friendly of a way as we can.  The last time that the Super Bowl was here was 2009, so there have been a ton of renovations that have gone into making the stadium ready. Again, just trying to amplify those green efforts there so that we can ensure that recycling and a lot of those different initiatives are in place for the game.

[00:05:58] Liz: That's great. It sounds like you'll be ready. I saw that there's a big community cleanup part of this as well, could you tell me a little bit about that?

[00:06:10] Katie: Sure, absolutely. This is a program that we're super excited about. We call them Greening Events. These are also in conjunction with NFL Green. They double it as beautification projects, but they include everything from community gardens and our local parks, tree plantings. Our first event was a sand dune restoration at Picnic Island. We got tons of sand that was brought in and then we had volunteers that were planting different grasses and things to stabilize that environment. We really looked at the gamut of things.

Another huge cleanup event that we'll be hosting is the Super Cleanup, which is something that the host committee is going to help coordinate. That's set to prime our downtown corridor before the teams and fans arrive in Tampa so that everything looks thick and span for them as they come into town.

One other cleanup program that I'd really love to touch on is our underwater project. We've worked in partnership with Force Blue, which is a veteran organization to replant corals down in Miami. This is a carryover project from last year, but they'll also be removing marine debris from a reef off the coast of Anna Maria, so we're touching land and sea and we're really excited about that as well.

[00:07:38] Liz: I love that too. The fact that you're getting rid of the marine debris, but also thinking long term with the coral replenishment. That's amazing. It's short term and long term in your thinking, that's awesome.

[00:07:53] Katie: Thank you. Yes, like I said, we can't wait for all these to start taking place and to see the impact as we look to the future as well.

[00:08:03] Liz: That's great. Tell me how can fans help the event be more sustainable. Is there a role for them?

[00:08:11] Katie: There is. We have a great volunteer program that we're launching, and there are opportunities for people to get involved whether through volunteering for our Green teams, which are going to be along the Riverwalk. They're going to help educate participants on the different recycling opportunities and sustainable behaviors that can be utilized alongside our Super Bowl experience event.  Then we'll be hosting, again, that Super Cleanup, in which everyone is welcome to attend. More details will be coming out on that soon as those plans are solidified.

There's a lot for people to get involved and you can stay tuned on our website. That's Tampabaylv.com for all those opportunities.

[00:08:58] Liz: That's great. I'm sure they will. We will keep abreast of it as well. One last question for you, because I know you are busy. A lot of our listeners are into food waste, recycling waste, they're waste haulers, and waste diversion people. Do you know any specifics about those plans? Or will you rely on your awesome partners for more details on those as they flesh out?

[00:09:28] Katie: Those are still being fleshed, but I will share that there's a really unique opportunity with our Super Bowl experience layout in how we look at recycling and waste diversion. Super Bowl experience is going to line the Tampa downtown Riverwalk. It's 0.7 miles of walking trail connected by a variety of city parks. In each of those parks, there'll be activations activities, concert stages, you name it, for people to enjoy, but that's a long distance to travel and that's a lot of waste that will be generated there and spread across that footprint.

Again, relying heavily on the City of Tampa, their waste department, and our Parks and Rec teams to put together something that's not only going to encourage fans to recycle and divert as much waste as we can, but to educate and, hopefully, those carry over to the homes of, again, those residents and fans that visit.

[00:10:24] Liz: That's great news. That's awesome to hear. You're right, the educational part is huge in helping with this. It sounds like you have quite an amazing program lined up, Katie. This is great.

[00:10:38] Katie: Of course. Thank you so much for your time. As we get closer to the planning, we'll be happy to share more details as they become available.

[00:10:47] Liz: That sounds great. We will touch base with you, and I can't wait to watch the Super Bowl in your town. Congratulations and good luck.

[00:10:56] Katie: Thank you.

[00:10:58] Liz: Thanks, Katie, have a great day.

[00:11:01] Katie: Yes, absolutely. Will you send us the link once everything goes live?

[00:11:07] Liz: Absolutely.

[00:11:09] Katie: Perfect. I know Brooke will be on the lookout for that. 

[00:11:12] Liz: Yes, absolutely. We'll send you the link. What we usually do is create some assets around it. We'll do like some social media images, and then if you'd like to use them, you can. If you'd rather not, if you have your own or you just want to share a link, that's fine too. Whatever you want to do.

[00:11:28] Katie: Our social team will be sure to retweet or amplify content, so anything you can share with us, we're happy to help support.

[00:11:37] Liz: That's great. Thank you so much. Enjoy, you're going to have a fun year ahead.

[00:11:41] Katie: No problem. Thank you.

[00:11:45] Liz: Take care, talk to you soon.

[00:11:46] Katie: All right. Bye.


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