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Sustainable beer cups at the stadium: Will it spike prices?

Kristian Dyer

The first college athletics department to unveil a sustainability program, which includes a zero-waste goal, is taking their environmentally-friendly outlook yet another step with the introduction of a recyclable aluminum cup.

The University of Colorado-Boulder, a member of the PAC-12, is making sure that football fans can refresh themselves all the while making sure that they are being eco-friendly. The athletic department has partnered with Ball, a company that creates sustainable beverage packaging, to distribute all their beverages at home football games in an aluminum cup. The cup can be recycled and made into a new can or cup within 60 days.

“Aluminum cups and cans are lightweight and can be easily stacked, which provides storage and shipping efficiencies,” said Renee Robinson, director of corporate communications for Ball. “The light weight also limits overall transportation carbon emissions through logistics and supply chains.”

The sustainable cups, which are lightweight and made of aluminum, will debut at Buffaloes football games at Folsom Field this weekend -- and won't increase the price of beer, according to the university. Colorado hosts No. 25 Nebraska in a nationally televised game on FOX.

As an athletic department, Colorado broke ground in 2008 by outlining a sustainability goal that was both aggressive but also practical, which involves students partnering with the school to help maintain the campus. Now the introduction of sustainable cups will help further the athletic department’s goal of zero waste at all their athletic venues as well as becoming plastic-free by 2020.

"Being conscious of the environment is not only the right thing to do, it sets an example for our fans and everyone else watching that they should make sustainable choices, too," Colorado athletic director Rick George said in a press release.

The process, overall, is simple. The cups will be collected in recycling bins then sorted from plastic and paper products. From there, all the aluminum cups are processed and made into aluminum ingots, which are the shape of gold bars, and then rolled into sheets.

Ball has similar pilot projects in the works for other sports venues as well.

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