Taking out the Super Bowl's trash
Downtown Indianapolis is preparing for today's fast approaching Super Bowl. Signs are going up, streets are being closed, and businesses are preparing for the tens of thousands of fans to descend on the city. One of the most important companies to Indy's Super Bowl success though, lies off of a gravel road on the outskirts of Zionsville.
Republic Waste Services is the company tasked with handling the trash for Super Bowl week. With the NFL experience, downtown concerts and of course, tailgating, the garbage is certain to pile up quickly.
General Manager John Drier says Republic is prepared to handle the challenge. "We've got about 30 additional employees and everyone is assigned to a certain job. We've got a game plan set aside for just this event," said Drier.
Handling a large event downtown is nothing new for Republic. The company services Lucas Oil Stadium and the Convention Center on a daily basis.
"The only thing that's really new is the Super Bowl Village, or Georgia Street, which is a whole new area we're not used to servicing," said Drier.
With over 400 trash containers to deposit, the recycling plant off of Robinson Road will be busy all week. The machines and employees work daily to separate and recycle glass, cardboard, newspaper, plastic containers, and even grocery bags. Republic has lofty goals on what they hope to recycle during their busiest week all year.
"If we recycle half the waste that comes out of those three venues, we'd consider that a pretty good success," said Drier.
While working to process all the extra garbage will be a hassle, one of the biggest challenges comes in form of passing through security areas. "Everyone has to be credentialed, and you can only get in from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. So we've got to get in, get our work done, and get out," said Drier. Screening could prove to be the main issue, as getting through security could take anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple hours.
Despite the similarities to events in years past, Republic knows that the week of the big game is going to be unlike anything they've ever handled. "On a normal game - a normal Colts game - there's about 20 tons. Not quite 20 tons of trash that comes out of the stadium. And it's hard to estimate what this is going to generate, but we think it could be upwards of 500 tons," said Drier. 500 tons is a tough number to visualize. But in football terms, it's over 3,300 Jeff Saturdays and weighs more than one million NFL footballs.
In regards to the potential for littering around the city and parking lots, Drier hopes for the best and pledges, "If [Super Bowl fans] do they're part, we'll do our part!"