SAN JOSE - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the San Jose Sharks a Certificate of Achievement for their accomplishments in implementing the Food Recovery Challenge. The Food Recovery Challenge asks participants to reduce as much of their food waste as possible - saving money, conserving resources, helping communities, and protecting the environment. It is part of the EPA's National Sustainable Materials Management Program, which aims to reduce the environmental impact of materials through their entire life cycle by improving how they are extracted, manufactured, distributed, used, reused, recycled, and disposed.
Since implementing the program in 2010, the Sharks have packed up all prepared but untouched concession food following game nights at SAP Center and redistributed them to local shelters and places of need in the Bay Area. Along with helping feed people in the local community, participating in this program has allowed the Sharks organization and SAP Center as a whole to reduce their environmental footprint and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
"The Sharks' achievements are a hat trick for the Bay Area, taking a bite out of food insecurity, checking climate change, and assisting communities," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "EPA is proud to recognize these environmental heroes of the NHL as they move into the compost season."
This season, the Sharks have donated over 8,100 pounds of food and 6,200 meals, with more expected to occur throughout the remainder of the regular season and NHL playoffs. During 2011-12, the Sharks increased their food waste diversion from landfills by 47%, contributing 3,372 pounds of food and 2,593 meals.
In total, the Sharks have donated over 20,255 pounds of food and 15,580 meals during the course of their participation in the Food Recovery Challenge. According to the Whole Earth Calculator, these contributions total 16,180 pounds of carbon dioxide and 14,562 pounds of methane in prevented emissions which negatively impact the environment.
The Sharks donations through the Food Recovery Challenge are made to Martha's Kitchen, a local soup kitchen in the nearby town of Willow Glen that has over 32 years of experience "feeding the hungry with dignity, no questions asked, no judgment made."
In 2010, the National Hockey League and its 30 Member Clubs launched their food recovery program to combat waste and fight hunger across North America. The League was celebrated by both Beyond Sport and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the initiative, which has diverted over 300 tons of waste from landfill and provided local shelters with more than 400,000 meals since its inception in 2010.
"The success of the NHL Green initiative is credited to our Clubs, and their ingenuity and resourcefulness," said Omar Mitchell, Director of Sustainability at the NHL. "The Sharks continue to take a leadership role by once again proving the environmental and financial benefits of effective waste management strategies, from source reduction and food donations to recycling and composting."
Along with taking part in the Food Recovery Challenge, the Sharks and SAP Center are active participants in other environmentally friendly programs and activities. SAP Center diverts over 90% of its waste from landfill disposal through recycling and composting programs developed and honed over the last decade.
In October of 2012, the Sharks installed Bloom Energy Servers that replaced approximately 90% of the electrical utility power used at SAP Center during non-event hours and approximately 25% used on a Sharks game day, becoming the first multi-purpose sports and entertainment facility to utilize fuel cell technology as a supplemental electricity source.
Due to the efficiency of the Bloom box, SAP Center will reduce its carbon footprint by 4.8 million pounds of CO2 over a ten-year period, equal to taking 427 passenger vehicles off the road.
The Sharks have also partnered with SIMS Recycling Solutions to help fans and staff members responsibly and conveniently recycle their old electronics in the most environmentally responsible manner possible. Since the partnership with SIMS Recycling began during the 2010-11 season, the Sharks have recycled approximately 100,000 pounds of electronic waste, including 12,644 pounds of electronic equipment this season alone.
In congruence with these green initiatives, the Sharks will be participating in National River Cleanup Day on May 17th. The Sharks will run a cleanup site on the Guadalupe River (from Coleman St. to Julian St.), serving as one of the dozens of cleanup sites located around the South Bay.
Interested volunteers can sign up now at sjsharks.com/creekcleanup.