Skip To Content

The Xcel Energy Center home to the National Hockey League Minnesota Wild has reduced waste by 58%. And in 2015 they recycled 66% of their waste.

There are 3 key strategies that the Xcel Energy Center management team have leveraged to achieve this significant recycling rate of 66%:


1. Culture

is the #1 driver of recycling program success. Senior management buy-in drives participation in the recycling program.

  • The Xcel Energy Center and St Paul River Centre have a strong leadership team that set clear organizational sustainability goals.
  • In year 1 they focused on educating their employees on effectively collecting and discarding the waste and recycling. At the end of year 1, they had cut their trash in half and increased their diversion rate to 40%.
  • In year 2 they focused on purchasing programs and sourced compostable food service wear and containers to further increase the volume of waste they divert from landfill.

2. Communication

– telling everyone about the program and how to use it effectively.

  • Employees at the Xcel Energy Center were educated on where the new recycling bins were located and how to use them.
  • All recycling bins have color-coded recycling posters to provide consistent messaging to employees and patrons for each waste stream.
  • People typically have 2-3 seconds to decide as they approach a recycling bin. Facility-specific waste images are featured on recycling labels to help people make the right choice when they toss their trash.

3. Collection

– select containers to suit your capacity and stream requirements.

  • The Xcel Center has various types of recycling containers depending on the location and capacity requirements. They maintain consistency in their images and color coding to help build positive behavior.
  • The containers have restrictive openings to encourage people to dispose their waste into the correct stream. For example, “paper” is a narrow slot, “cans & bottles” is a circle, and “compost” is a triangle.
  • The Xcel Energy Center also chose recycling bins with interchangeable posters and labels. This allows them to update the messaging on their recycling bins every time their program changes. If they have a new concession vendor, for example, they can update their recycling posters with new images so patrons know exactly where to toss their waste.

CleanRiver congratulates The Xcel Energy Center’s significant achievement of being awarded LEED Certification, APEX/ASTM certification, and Green Globe Certification all in the same year. Watch this video to learn more about their sustainability program and approach.