52 Customer Stories
#15 – Wells Fargo Center reaches 80 percent diversion rate
Philadelphia, Penn. – Since 2013, the Wells Fargo Center, home to the Philadelphia 76ers, has
been executing a recycling program that’s finding creative ways to limit the amount of waste
heading to the landfill. From the beginning, WM has helped Global Spectrum, operator of the
Center, and Aramark, the facility’s food concessionaire, reach a goal that once seemed
“The one thing that made our program so successful is the partnership we have with WM and our
food service provider,” said Gail Clark, vice president of special projects for Comcast-Spectacor,
owner of the Wells Fargo Center. “It takes a lot of coordination and partnering for all of it to
In late 2012, Global Spectrum launched a food waste composting program with an ambitious goal of
reaching 80 percent diversion. In January 2013, the facility began measuring its results, and by
March of the same year had already reported 77 percent of its waste stream either being recycled
“Before that we were diverting six to nine percent,” Clark said. In the beginning, teams from WM,
Aramark and Global Spectrum partnered to do a number of things to make the program a success,
- Training the center’s staff on proper recycling
- Installing new containers that allowed materials to be separated
- Procuring materials that would be more easily recycled
At the start, Aramark found and purchased compostable hot dog boats, food trays, sandwich wraps
and other concession items. According to Aramark’s Dave Salinger, who introduced the food recycling
program, ordering compostable gear came with slightly higher costs, but allowed for greater diversion.
In fact, the biggest challenge was getting the staff on board. That’s because some of the crew had
worked at the facility for more than 30 years.
“Some of them told me ‘this isn’t going to work,’” Salinger said. “However, with the help of WM and
Global Spectrum, we were able to get it done. Since almost everything is compostable, the fans don’t
have to do anything. We made it easy.”
So easy, that shortly after the program arrived, the Wells Fargo Center saw nearly a tenfold increase
in diversion. By November 2013, the expansion of the Center’s recycling program has saved $35,000
in waste disposal costs.
For WM, the partnership has created new opportunities. In January of this year, Sales Support Manager
P.J. Chipman and Major Account Manager Dan Slezak were asked to join a webinar by the Green Sports
Alliance, during which they presented on the program, putting the WM name in front of sporting venues
from across the country.
“The webinar was good exposure,” Chipman said. “We got the most questions. There are a lot of facilities
that want to go this way. They are going to take this template and run with it.”
Chipman also said Global Spectrum would like to replicate Wells Fargo Center’s program at 15 other event
venues. Those programs will be just as successful as long as they enjoy the same commitment
experienced in Philadelphia.
Photo: (L-R) Aramark’s David Salinger, WM Sales Manager Tom Ashelman, Comcast-Spectacor Vice
President of Special Events Gail Clark, WM Major Account Manager Dan Slezak and Route Manager