Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium earns zero waste certification

Credit: Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

Venue is the first professional sports stadium in the world to receive designation

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is no stranger to teams earning championships beneath its cavernous retractable roof, but on Monday the Atlanta venue itself announced that it, too, had earned a prestigious new title.

The 5-plus-year-old stadium, which is home to the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, said it had officially achieved Total Resource Use and Efficiency (TRUE) “Platinum” certification for successfully cutting its waste to near zero for a full year.

The designation is the highest level possible and makes Mercedes-Benz the first professional sports stadium in the world — and the second major venue in Atlanta — to receive Platinum certification. Last April, State Farm Arena, home to the Atlanta Hawks, also earned platinum-level certification, becoming the first overall venue to receive that recognition.

To reach this milestone, Mercedes-Benz showed that it keeps at least 90% of its waste on average from entering landfills, escaping into the environment or being burned for energy.

Last summer, the stadium achieved Platinum “pre-certification” by clearing the 90% waste diversion threshold while hosting five Atlanta United matches and major concerts by Coldplay and Kenny Chesney. But to earn full Platinum status, the stadium had to show that it had maintained that level for an entire year and has implemented other environmentally-friendly strategies.

The certification was awarded by Green Business Certification, Inc., (GBCI) a third-party sustainability and health credentialing body.

Reaching the Platinum level is the culmination of work that began before Mercedes-Benz ever opened its doors, said Andrew Bohenko, the stadium’s sustainability coordinator.

In 2017, the stadium became the first pro sports venue in North America to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, the program’s highest level of recognition for environmentally conscious development, which is also administered by GBCI.

“It was always the intent to integrate as much as many sustainable initiatives into the stadium as possible,” Bohenko said.

Over the years, Bohenko said Mercedes-Benz has grown more focused on that mission. The stadium has worked with suppliers and vendors to use recyclable and compostable items, where possible, and utilizes a 6,000-square-foot to sort and divert waste material from heading to the landfill.

With a capacity of about 75,000, Mercedes-Benz is also the busiest stadium in North America, hosting more than 50 events and 3 million visitors annually, the venue said in a news release. Peter Templeton, the president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council and GBCI, said in a statement that he hopes the achievement serves as a model for other large stadiums to reduce waste.

“With Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s leadership in this endeavor, they are making great strides for their employees, community, and the sports industry at large,” he said.

A note of disclosure

This coverage is supported by a partnership with 1Earth Fund, the Kendeda Fund and Journalism Funding Partners. You can learn more and support our climate reporting by donating at