FirstEnergy Stadium Living Up to Its Name with Food Waste Partnership Cleveland's public-private effort to turn food waste into sustainable energy takes center stage at Steelers-Browns game

CLEVELAND, Nov. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- While Cleveland fans at FirstEnergy Stadium are cheering on the Browns on Sunday, the Stadium itself will be working to give back to fans and the city, as the Browns' effort to divert stadium food waste away from landfills and convert it into renewable energy will be showcased. 

"When we launched Sustainable Cleveland 2019 four years ago, our mission was to bring together people who could apply sustainability principles to our local economy, and that's exactly what this group is doing," said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson. "Now fans can feel even more pride walking into FirstEnergy Stadium knowing that the Browns are taking huge strides toward our goal of being a green city on a blue lake."

"One of our top priorities is innovation, and this new system not only helps our stadium operate efficiently but also preserves valuable resources in our community," said Browns President Alec Scheiner. "We are fortunate to partner with great Cleveland companies in this positive effort that aids our city."

Forest City Enterprises saw the opportunity to spark an innovative urban partnership with the Browns, quasar energy group, Ohio State, InSinkErator and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. The Browns are the first professional franchise to implement the Grind2Energy™ system from InSinkErator. At the stadium, food scraps which would otherwise go to a landfill are collected and ground into a slurry, which is transported to an anaerobic digester operated by quasar energy group at Ohio State University's Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). At the anaerobic digester, which periodically adds cow manure to lower acidity and boost the methane, quasar produces biogas for energy and fuel uses.

"We like to think that what we've built here is a roadmap for developers, communities and companies across the country," said Jon Ratner, VP of Energy & Sustainability at Forest City Enterprises. "We believe this is one of those moments where people will stop viewing something – in this case, food waste – as a challenge, and start seeing it as a real opportunity."

The implementation of the system at FirstEnergy Stadium will:

  • Divert 35 tons of food waste from landfills every season
  • Reduce CO2 emissions by 28,000 pounds per year
  • Generate enough electricity to power a single-family home for a year and a half
  • Produce enough natural gas to heat 32 homes for an entire month
  • Recover enough nutrients for 3 football fields of new crops

"Anaerobic digestion is the starting point for sustainable solutions with economic benefits that will affect every American," said Mel Kurtz, President of quasar energy group. "It's a new way to think about how we use our food."

"The idea that we can now transform food categorized as 'waste' into a source of renewable energy is truly a game changer, especially with an estimated 36 million tons of food waste from commercial and residential sources ending up in U.S. landfills each year," said Tim Ferry, president of InSinkErator. "The Grind2Energy system is a sustainable solution for facilities like sporting arenas, grocery stores, hotels, and academic institutions, and, as seen at FirstEnergy Stadium, it has the potential to revolutionize the future of food waste."

"Outside of the family the most influential role models are athletes and entertainers. And professional sports teams as well play a uniquely influential leadership role in the business community. Consequently, when sports franchises like the Cleveland Browns make ecologically intelligent commitments it sends an important and positive signal to the marketplace," said Allen Hershkowitz, Ph.D., Director of the Sports Greening Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). "The sports greening movement is changing the way venues are operated, and more and more of them are focused on recovering value from food waste instead of wasting that resource in landfills or incinerators."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will also be on hand Sunday to recognize the way the Browns are meeting the goals of the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, an effort from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency to spur producer groups, processors, manufacturers, retailers, communities, and other government agencies − to join the effort to reduce, recover, and recycle food waste.

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® is a forum for the dairy industry to work together pre-competitively to address barriers and opportunities to foster innovation and increase sales. The Innovation Center aligns the collective resources of the industry against common priorities to offer consumers nutritious dairy products and ingredients, and promote the health of people, communities, the planet and the industry. The Board of Directors for the Innovation Center includes dairy industry leaders representing key producer organizations, dairy cooperatives, processors, manufacturers and brands. The Innovation Center is staffed by Dairy Management Inc™. Visit for more information about the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

Headquartered in Racine, Wis., InSinkErator, a business of Emerson (NYSE: EMR), is the world's largest manufacturer of food waste disposers and instant hot water dispensers for home and commercial use. For more information about InSinkErator products, call 1-800-558-5700 or visit the company's website at  

quasar energy group is a Cleveland, Ohio, based renewable energy company. quasar designs, builds, owns and operates anaerobic digestion facilities, using U.S. components to process organic waste in order to produce clean, renewable energy and a nutrient rich alternative fertilizer. In recent years, quasar has expanded to thirteen operating facilities with several more in the construction phase. For more information, visit

Joanna Hunter

SOURCE Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy; InSinkErator; quasar energy group


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