Community Champions Highlight: McMahon Stadium Society

The roar of the crowd, the bright lights, the familiar scent of hot dogs as they sizzle on the grill; these are all things you’d expect when visiting a football arena like McMahon Stadium. Something you might not expect, however, is their phenomenal environmental efforts.

The McMahon Stadium Society joined the Community Champions Program in 2014, and the partnership has blossomed over the past four years. They’d been involved with recycling and waste management for years, but were looking to update their bins and improve signage and awareness in the stadium. The McMahon Stadium Society is a not-for-profit organization and the funds they receive through beverage container recycling help support their operating budget and purchasing of new equipment like tractors for field maintenance.

While recycling efforts can be challenging in a facility that doesn’t have a captive audience and works with a fluctuating fan base, McMahon Stadium is determined to reduce waste and improve their environmental stewardship in Alberta. They host people from all over the province, and country sometimes, and feel it is their duty to ensure the proper recycling facilities are available to their guests. The venue is used not only by the prestigious Calgary Stampeders, but also the University of Calgary Dinos, various high schools throughout the city, soccer teams and field hockey teams.

The stadium can seat up to 35,000 spectators and sees roughly 25,000 spectators per Stampeders game. That’s one quarter of a million people in a year and doesn’t include the additional 30,000 visitors during amateur events. In the past four years, the stadium has recycled nearly 1 million beverage containers. This is a massive impact and equates to saving nearly 100,000 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions, more than 300,000 kilowatts of energy, and over 50,000 kilograms of material from the landfill.

Not only is McMahon Stadium working hard to keep recyclables out of Alberta’s landfills, they are also providing employment opportunities to Alberta’s workforce. The Stadium works closely with International Staffing Consulting services to employ Warriors from the Drop In Centre in Calgary. They also have expressed that the program would not have been as successful as it is without the continued support of Happy Can Bottle Depot, who have worked with them for numerous years and created an efficient system to collect the recycled beverage containers and bring them to the Depot for a refund.