Super Bowl Ditches Plastic Cups in Favor of Costlier Aluminum

(Bloomberg) -- This weekend’s Super Bowl in Miami is more than a showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. It’s a high-profile -- and costly -- attempt to ditch single-use plastic.

Hard Rock Stadium is replacing all of its disposable plastic cups for the game on Sunday. Working alongside stadium concessionaire Centerplate Inc., Bud Light and Ball Corp., the sports venue will be stocked with 50,000 cups made from aluminum, which is easier to recycle.

The change sets an example for other stadiums looking to be more sustainable, but it comes with a first-mover cost. Aluminum cups are currently much more expensive than plastic counterparts, according to Centerplate Senior Vice President of Marketing Diana Evans. In total, Centerplate and the Miami Dolphins have invested $500,000 in their push to rid Hard Rock Stadium of single-use plastic.

Super Bowl Ditches Plastic Cups in Favor of Costlier Aluminum

“That’s basically our cost so far,” said Evans, who added that Centerplate was footing the bulk of that bill. “But the first run is always your most expensive. To get that product off the line for those first 50,000, that’s probably always going to be, in any industry, the most expense phase of development.”

Centerplate said that those added costs aren’t being passed along to fans, and that the swap should become more affordable as other stadiums make the move away from single-use plastic. Ball, which manufacturers the containers, will be able to make them at a bulk rate. And stadiums and beverage companies will be more prepared after Miami paves the way.

Evans even hypothesized about potentially selling sponsorships to the cups.

The aluminum push is part of a wider Centerplate goal to eliminate 99.4% of single-use plastic at Hard Rock Stadium this year. Evans said PepsiCo Inc. also agreed to supply all of its packaged beverages -- soda, Gatorade and Aquafina water -- in aluminum for the game.

“We’re able to move aggressively in Miami because we have so much client support and it’s something that really unites people being so close to the water and the ocean,” Evans said. “I think that this is going to take a couple of years to roll out through the entire system.”

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