It takes a village to make a compostable peanut bag. After all, it took the collaboration of four companies to make it happen: BASF; Hampton Farms; Aramark and the Kansas City Chiefs.
It all started with the professional football team. As an initiative to implement additional sustainability efforts at Arrowhead Stadium, Brandon Hamilton, Kansas City Chiefs vice president of stadium operations, knew a compostable peanut package would get the stadium one step closer towards the Chiefs’ environmental initiative, "Extra Yard for the Environment."
"As corporate citizens, it is important for us to do our part towards sustainable practices. We all understand the platform we have in professional sports. We have the opportunity to lead by example and be change agents in this industry," Hamilton told BASF in an exclusive interview. "In looking at our diversion process, there are a couple of obstacles in the way of reaching higher numbers; some items that our concessionaires sell are either not compostable or not recyclable, and the peanut bag is an example of that."
The trend towards waste reduction is not new. About 32 million pounds of food waste are diverted annually, according to Missouri Organic Recycling, the local Kansas City composter, which is enough to fill 15 football fields 1 foot deep.
Most sports venues today have some sort of recycling or composting programs in place. Providing separate collection bins for fans to dispose their waste is a start. But diverting waste from landfills is where the real benefit comes. Hamilton wanted to be the first. Part of his waste diversion plan was to come up with compostable peanut bags or stop selling them at the stadium altogether.
Hamilton’s plan came closer to reality in 2013, when he attended the Green Sports Alliance Summit in Brooklyn, New York. He heard a BASF employee speak about developing and producing a concept compostable peanut bag demonstration for a promotional activity.