‘The Benz’ live up to its sustainable image



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MB Stadium partners with WinCup Image: HOK

WinCup, Inc., an Atlanta (US) Metro-based company, is sponsoring the National Football League (NFL) team Atlanta Falcons to introduce phade®, the world’s first marine biodegradable, home and industrial compostable drinking straws and stirrers to their digs – the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The sponsorship exercise began in August 2021.

The ‘Bloomberg’ stated that Falcons’ fans and other stadium attendees will be the latest beneficiaries of a growing movement of sustainable practices being adopted across the sports industry. Made with PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate), a biodegradable resin derived from the fermentation of canola oil, phade® sustainable drinking straws and stirrers maintain the feel and user experience of traditional plastic equivalents but will safely return to nature through composting.

The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta (US). The Falcons compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s National Football Conference South division.

The 71,000-capacity Mercedes-Benz Stadium, also known as simply ‘The Benz’, is a multipurpose stadium located in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. Opened in August 2017 as a replacement for the Georgia Dome, it serves as the home stadium of the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL and Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer (MLS).

Observed Mace Aluia, Vice President, Corporate Partnership Sales at AMB Sports + Entertainment, “Sports venues are starting to return to full capacity, and as we welcome both new and returning fans, we have committed to protecting their health, as well as the health of our shared planet. As part of that initiative, we are excited that the Mercedes-Benz Stadium will offer sustainable, innovative products such as phade® straws and stirrers, which help address the plastics pollution crisis.”

The ‘Bloomberg’ further stated that the sponsorship reflects the growing demand for viable alternatives to single-use petroleum-based plastics. Both paper straws and vegetable-based polylactic acid (PLA) straws present performance and sustainability challenges that phade® overcomes. Paper straws get soggy and can collapse during use, and biodegradation performance varies because of adhesives and other unknown chemical additives that may be used in the straws.

Enthused Dawn Brown, Director of Sustainability, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, “We take a lot of pride in being named the most sustainable sports venue in the world, and we have achieved that through the integration of products like phade®. The Atlanta Falcons and WinCup are a natural fit because both organizations are proven leaders in environmental innovation and action.”

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the first professional sports stadium to receive the LEED Platinum certification. Created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, it is the most widely used Green building rating system. As the home to the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United FC of MLS and many of the world’s top sports and entertainment events, this partnership with phade® will further the stadium’s ongoing sustainability initiatives.

Said Michael Winters, WinCup President and Chief Revenue Officer, “We are thrilled to partner with the Atlanta Falcons in their continued quest to be the best environmental steward in the sports industry. Our sponsorship provides us a platform to provide meaningful, sustainable solutions to teams, venues, leagues, and their fans, starting right here in Atlanta. We look forward to seeing the continued adoption of eco-friendly products such as phade® expanding in the sports world, and into communities across the United States and countries throughout the world to help reduce global plastic pollution.”

The development of phade® involved a rigorous testing and certification process. TÜV AUSTRIA, a globally recognized independent third-party certifying body, certified phade® as both industrial and backyard compostable in a matter of months. Additionally, the Biodegradable Products Institute Inc. (BPI) has certified phade® as industrially compostable.”

Explained Brad Laporte, WinCup’s Chief Executive Officer, “What makes phade® so revolutionary is that it’s made with PHA. Unlike petroleum-based straws – which take hundreds of years to biodegrade – phade® straws generally biodegrade in a matter of months in environments where bacteria are present and can use PHA as a food source. With WinCup’s national footprint and extensive manufacturing experience within the foodservice industry, we have the infrastructure in place to scale phade® as market demand continues to increase.”

The Falcons’ partnership with WinCup is particularly fitting considering the role the State of Georgia (US) plays in creating the phade® straw. Bainbridge (Georgia)-based biotech company Danimer Scientific, a global leader in PHA technology, creates the canola-based PHA resin using its Nodax® biopolymer, sourced by WinCup to manufacture the straws and stirrers. TÜV AUSTRIA certified Nodax® as industrial and home compostable, as well as soil, freshwater and marine biodegradable.

The unique sustainable qualities of Nodax® PHA and the phade® straw and stirrer have attracted the attention of global restaurant brands that are turning to the straw as a high-performing biodegradable alternative to traditional petroleum-based straws.

WinCup has won numerous awards for the development and launch of phade®, including the 2021 Innovation in FoodService Award for Sustainability Solutions from the National Restaurant Association and SmartBrief. Most recently, WinCup’s phade® brand was recognized out of a pool of more than 4,000 global entries by the Fast Company Magazine as a finalist or honorable mention winner in the ‘World Changing Ideas’ Consumer Products, Enduring Impact, General Excellence, and World Changing Ideas categories.

WinCup, Inc. which is headquartered in Stone Mountain, Georgia, has recently been acquired by Atar Capital, a Los Angeles based global private investment firm. Among Atar’s core principles is a commitment to sustainability and investing in companies that work toward protecting the environment.

WinCup is a leading manufacturer of traditional and sustainable disposable cups, bowls, containers, lids, and straws. The company’s eight manufacturing locations are committed to high-quality products and superior customer service.

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