Five eco-friendly ways to celebrate the Super Bowl

This week, the 2020 Super Bowl is bringing entertainment, excitement and the big game to Miami. That’s the good news. The bad news: visitors and locals alike will make a mess or maybe even a Super Mess.

There are several ways you can enjoy the biggest game in American sports while still protecting South Florida’s environment. Whether you’re going to the game or watching it at home, you can make your Super Bowl weekend both eco-friendly and fun. Here are five ways to take in the spectacle without neglecting the planet.

(Julia Gomez/SFMN)

1. Ditch the throwaway plastics

According to the United Nations, since the 1960s, we’ve produced 8.3 billion tons of plastic and 80% has ended up in landfills or the ocean. While Tom Garfinkel, CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium, created a committee in August 2019 “to phase out 99.4% of [Hard Rock Stadium’s] single-use plastics by 2020 – including for [Super Bowl] LIV,” you can do your part, too. A great alternative is using eco-friendly, biodegradable or reusable plates, cups and cutlery.

(Julia Gomez/SFMN)

2. Start using mineral sunscreen

When spending a long day in the Miami sun, it’s vital to protect your skin by wearing sunscreen. Most chemical sunscreens contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalate and octocrylene. These chemicals harm marine life and cause coral bleaching in Florida’s reefs. Hawaii even passed a bill banning the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone that will go into effect in January 2021. Protecting your skin from the sun’s radiation is important. Mineral sunscreen is a great alternative that’s safer for our oceans.

(Julia Gomez/SFMN)

3. Buy less merch

Repping your team and wearing the jersey during the Super Bowl feels great! However, the overproduction of teams’ merchandise contributes to the pollution hurting the planet. The Environmental Protection Agency estimated the “generation of textiles in 2017 was 16.9 million tons.” Be mindful of the purchases you make by buying a team’s apparel secondhand. Reducing the clothes you buy helps reduce waste.

(Julia Gomez/SFMN)

4. Drive less

Miami traffic stinks. America’s biggest sports event will bring even more of it. A good way to help our community reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to drive less. One parking pass for the Super Bowl costs as much as $1,500 on Stub Hub. Carpooling or taking public transportation to the big game — or to the dozens of events that precede it — is a great way to reduce emissions and save money.

(Julia Gomez/SFMN)

5. Don’t litter

Miami Beach passed a law in 2019 banning plastic straws, stirrers, bags and plastic foam to combat the over 8,000 pounds of litter that’s left daily on the city’s beaches. Consuming food wrapped in plastic is not only unnecessary, but can also lead to plastic ending up in our oceans. Jack Groh, director of the NFL Environmental Program and a founding member of Sport and Sustainability International, estimated the 2019 Super Bowl will produce 60 tons of waste. It’s important to clean up after ourselves and properly recycle or trash what we use. The Super Bowl is a great time to celebrate, but don’t forget to protect our beautiful peninsula.

Caplin News Contributor

Monica L. Correa is a journalism student with a strong passion for social issues, international law and politics. Correa has a background in Spanish literature and hopes to become a voice for her community.

Julia Gomez is a student of journalism at Florida International University and hopes to become an investigative journalist. She is experienced in writing about politics and pop culture, and has a passion for music and photography