- Anheuser-Busch InBev is uniting the National Football League and Major League Baseball to form the National Recycling League, a multisport partnership to reduce game day waste, according to a press release.
- So far, more than 10 teams have agreed to participate in the newly created recycling effort, including the Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals.
- The coalition also serves as a way to activate the beer marketer's sponsorships and help fans make connections between Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra. The program arrives at the start of the MLB season as fans begin to pack stadiums again after two years of COVID-19 restrictions.
After two tumultuous years for live sports during the pandemic, the MLB is ready for fans to pack stands again as COVID-19 restrictions ease. With an influx of game day crowds comes an influx of game day waste. As consumers in general increasingly focus on the environment and sustainability, Anheuser-Busch is looking to insert itself into the conversation by creating a brand association to recycling. Longer-term, the company has committed to a 2025 deadline for 100% of its packaging to be made from recycled content or to be returnable.
As part of the recycling league, participating teams have pledged to undertake several new initiatives designed to reduce waste, including offering infinitely recyclable aluminum cups instead of single-use plastic ones, in-seat recycling details and in-stadium signage telling consumers to "Recycle Like a Champion."
Select MLB partners will deploy "recycling hawkers" at games to collect bottles and cans from fans in the stands. The recycling hawkers are meant to imitate the concessions staff seen at games, selling hot dogs, beer and other treats.
"This commitment to environmental stewardship by our long-term partner perfectly aligns with our continued efforts to bring more recycling options and sustainable practices to our ballparks," Paul Hanlon, MLB's senior director of ballpark operations and sustainability, said in a press release.
In order to further tie Anheuser-Busch to the effort, select partner teams will compete head-to-head to win free beer. The city of the participating team that has the highest recycling rate during home games between opening day and May 31 will receive a round of beer on the brewing company.