Compostable Products Aid in Waste Reduction at Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul RiverCentre and the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium

The journey from 15% to 56% recycling

Xcel Energy Center

SITUATION: 2007 = 15% Recycling Rate on 2.9 million pounds of total waste


  • Strategic waste reduction initiative “50-50 in 2”
  • Goal: reduce trash by 50% and increase recycling rate to 50% over 2 years
  • Approach: engage partners & staff at all levels to achieve success


  • Bolster existing practices for recycling
  • Add composting and comprehensive green purchasing plan
  • Refine process for waste handling as it flows through building
  • Add new infrastructure for easy sorting and clean handling, while right sizing equipment to minimize waste hauling costs
  • Engage staff, vendors and guests to participate
  • Support the City of Saint Paul and become a role model for region
  • Enhance the brand of Saint Paul RiverCentre and Minnesota Wild in the community


A key to a successful recycling program is alleviating “separation anxiety”for the end user. Using the Ingeo materials has allowed us to simplify sorting and in some cases create a two-stream / no-waste situation in parts of the facility where all items are now recyclable or compostable.

"Our project continues to suceed by making it easy for people to do the right thing and difficult for people to fail. Enrolling partners and leveraging them in creative solutions was key to this strategy and has enabled us to reach our goals."

- Jim Ibister,
GM Saint Paul RiverCentre & VP Facility Administration Minnesota Wild

Green Drop Bins


  • Saint Paul Arena Company – the facility operators who made waste reduction part of the overall strategic plan
  • Litin Eco – the product vendor who combined many high-quality compostable products under one roof for easy ordering
  • MHC Culinary Group – the foodservice vendor responsible for buying products and distributing them for use throughout Saint Paul RiverCentre
  • Levy Restaurants – the foodservice vendor responsible for buying products and distributing them for use throughout Xcel Energy Center
  • Progressive Associates – the consulting firm who helped design and implement the “50-50 in 2” program
Trash Graph


  • Learn more about the benefits of composting at:
  • Look for recycling and composting opportunities at work, home, and public events
  • Ask your waste hauler for curb-side composting service at home
  • “Close the loop” and buy locally produced compost for your flowerbeds at the local garden store


In March 2012, the facilities collected their one-millionth pound of compostable material. Annually, the quantity collected has grown substantially each year since the program began.

Case Study: Minnesota Wild

In March 2012 the Xcel Center and the Minnesota Wild celebrated


pounds of compostable material