Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium recognized for zero waste efforts

Coldplay wows a packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium on the Music of the Spheres World Tour stop in Atlanta on Saturday night, June 11, 2022. (Ryan Fleisher for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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Coldplay wows a packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium on the Music of the Spheres World Tour stop in Atlanta on Saturday night, June 11, 2022. (Ryan Fleisher for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Green recognition follows State Farm Arena reaching same environmental milestone.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium has received new recognition for its efforts to reach zero waste production, making it the first professional sports stadium in the world, and the second major venue in Atlanta, to receive the designation.

The stadium, which is home to the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, announced it received Total Resource Use and Efficiency (TRUE) pre-certification, which is given to facilities that implement the foundational measures needed to cut waste generation to zero.

To receive pre-certification, the stadium had to show that it kept 90% or more of its waste out of landfills, incinerators or the environment, along with meeting other rigorous requirements.

Since March, Mercedes-Benz Stadium said it met those requirements while hosting five Atlanta United matches and at least two major concerts by Coldplay and Kenny Chesney.

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102520 Atlanta: Falcons fans Adam Waterman (left) and Michael Levalleh watch the team prepare to play the Detroit Lions Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

102520 Atlanta: Falcons fans Adam Waterman (left) and Michael Levalleh watch the team prepare to play the Detroit Lions Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Combined ShapeCaption
102520 Atlanta: Falcons fans Adam Waterman (left) and Michael Levalleh watch the team prepare to play the Detroit Lions Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

“Since construction, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been committed to creating a sustainable environment both in and around the stadium to reduce our overall environmental footprint. This is just the next step in our overall journey,” said Dietmar Exler, Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s chief operating officer, in a statement.

State Farm Arena, home to the Atlanta Hawks, reached platinum-level TRUE certification in April, becoming the first overall venue to receive such recognition by Green Business Certification Inc., an environmental and wellness credentialing organization.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported that from April 2021 to the same time in 2022, State Farm Arena diverted more than 1 million pounds of waste in its efforts to achieve full certification.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is in the process of receiving full certification, but officials do not have a final timeframe yet, marketing and communications manager Alexa Anderson said in an email.

The stadium houses a 6,000-square-foot room to reclaim, sort and divert items from landfills to an industrial composter in northern Georgia and other recycling facilities, said Adam Fullerton, senior director of stadium operations, in a statement. The stadium has also partnered with the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) to keep paint, batteries and electronic waste out of landfills.

On top of diverting waste, the stadium uses items made from recyclable and compostable materials and has signs and staff to direct fans to recycling and composting bins, Fullerton said. The main areas already have these containers, and the suites will receive larger, more visible ones by August.

In 2017, the stadium became the first pro sports venue in North America to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification. The LEED Green Building Rating System recognizes environmentally conscious developers and is also administered by GBCI, according to the release.