Whenever the Denver Nuggets or Colorado Avalanche are having great seasons, the excitement builds around Ball Arena as the teams eye deep playoff runs. 

The Ball Aluminum Cup is infinitely recyclable and dramatically cuts down on waste.The Broomfield-based Ball Corporation, the 800-pound gorilla of the aluminum can industry that bought the arena’s naming rights in 2020, is pushing to make these nail-biting seasons as sustainable as possible.

“Now in its fourth year, Ball’s partnership with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment aims to drive aluminum recycling at Ball Arena in Denver and in sports and entertainment more broadly,”  says Michelle Fick, vice president of commercial for Ball’s retail and food service operations. “Together at Ball Arena, we have shifted to recyclable aluminum beverage packaging in the venue, strengthened on-site aluminum recycling, and utilized in-venue messaging and other tools to educate fans and the Denver community about the importance of both their packaging choices and aluminum recycling.”

Fick says the “infinitely recyclable” Ball Aluminum Cup is a big part of the push. Debuting at Ball Arena in 2019 and now at numerous sporting and music venues nationwide, they replace disposable, single-use plastic cups.

“The cup was developed over several years in response to growing concerns around packaging pollution and increased demand for sustainable options not only from consumers but also from venues, sports teams, festival organizers and others,” explains Fick. “It is now available in five different size options and contains a recycled content rate of 90 percent, significantly reducing their carbon footprint and making it the cup with the highest recycled content rate of any beverage packaging in its category.”

Overall, aluminum beverage packaging helps eliminate about 1 million single-use plastic cups and bottles at Ball Arena every year.

Beyond aluminum, the strategy has required infrastructure and cooperation.

“Since being named Ball Arena, Ball and Kroenke Sports & Entertainment have worked together to increase recycling collection infrastructure and fan engagement activations around the arena,” says Fick.


Ball Arena now has more than 250 recycling bins for fan convenience. In 2021, the arena launched Team Aluminum, whose members collect aluminum during games using backpacks, and installed new Aluminum Recycling Machines on the main concourses where recycling gives fans a chance to win a gift card.​ 

Fick says the push is ongoing in the wake of the Nuggets’ 2022-23 championship season.

“This season, we installed 10 Oscar AI Sort Bins in December to help fans sort their trash,” she explains. “In 2023, we also built a recycling-powered claw machine where fans can have the chance to win Ball and team-centric prizes to further reward the act of recycling.”

The strategy is working: Ball Arena recycled 174,160 pounds of aluminum in 2023.

Ball is setting its sights on improving recycling well beyond its namesake arena.

“Ball Aluminum Cups can be found in numerous stadiums, including Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle and Hard Rock Stadium in Miami,” says Fick. ”We also have national distribution across 35,000 retail locations.”

“Increased use of aluminum beverage packaging is one step toward making the industry more sustainable, but there is much more work to be done,” she adds. “There is an opportunity to achieve fully circular operations in venues, which would encompass recycling, composting, renewable energy and other efforts. Many companies and organizations are doing their part to drive change, and it will take collaboration among all of us to create a lasting impact.”


Photos courtesy Kroenke Sports & Entertainment