Hockey season is in full swing, but off the ice the Tampa Bay Lightning are winning with Mother Nature too.
“We're always just trying to take it to another level,” said Mary Milne, Vice President of Guest Experience at Amalie Arena.
Mary Milne is known as the “Green Queen” to her coworkers at Amalie Arena. She’s headed a successful recycling program since 2003.
“Our fans are starting to get it. They want to do the right thing and that makes us feel good,” said Milne.
Recycling is easy at Amalie Arena. Next to each garbage can is a recycling bin. Over 150 tons of recyclables have been collected so far in 2016.
“We collect all our palettes to be recycled,” she said.
Food scraps in meal prep are also recycled. They're used to make compost through a partnership with Bay Mulch.
“By being able to take something as wet, goopy and nasty out of the waste stream helps us tremendously with our trash bill,” explained Milne.
This year recycling goes a step further.
“We are testing out two new spaces where we are trying to zero waste by adding post-consumer organic recycling,” she said.
This means everything from the plate to the food on it is recycled.
“This vertical hydroponic garden is equivalent of one acre farm,” said Milne.
Produce like lettuce, tomatoes and herbs come fresh from the vertical hydroponic garden out back. This is the third season of the successful project with Urban Oasis.
“Anything that the plants do not use goes right back into the bin and goes back into the system to be reused. We’re trying to get better with this every year,” she said.
With goals to improve energy efficiency too, Amalie Arena is one of just a handful of facilities to roll out a Shift Energy program to save on utilities this hockey season.
“It gives us a good trend to see how we can improve and see how we trend through Lightning games and different events we have here. Every little bit helps us get to that 20% savings that were striving for,” said Steve Butler Facility Engineering Manager at Amalie Arena.
Setting the bar high when it comes to going green.
“It's approaching it with a process and a plan and with a passion. How can we not do what we can to take care of our wonderful surroundings,” said Milne.