Picking up after 80,000 fans is no small task. In stadiums and arenas across the country, commercial cleaners face that challenge on a regular basis.
Henry Rzemieniewski, the cleaning operations manager at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, was recently interviewed by NJ.com about the unique challenges and processes involved in keeping a major sporting arena clean and sanitary.
Tackling Stadium Cleaning
Cleaning up after a football game actually starts during the game. Rzemieniewski’s cleaning staff sweeps aisles and floor spaces during each sporting event. After the game, the staff divides into three large teams that focus on sections of the massive stadium. The main goal of the first phase of cleaning up is gathering trash discarded by fans; separating the debris into compost, recycling, and trash destinations; and then another full sweep session.
After the trash and recyclables have been picked up and the floors have been re-swept, professional cleaners power wash the floors with commercial equipment.
This process is repeated after every concert, football game, and special event that takes place in the stadium.
Steps Toward Sustainability
One of Rzemieniewski’s goals as cleaning operations manager has been to increase sustainable cleaning methods at the stadium. Working with vendors, distributors, suppliers, his staff, and his fans, Rzemieniewski is well on his way to making huge strides.
His work with vendors in particular has had a huge impact. All of the trash created in seating areas from vendor products can either be recycled or composted. Composting at the stadium has become a leading effort of the cleaning staff. More than 150 tons of waste were composted last year. In addition, forty-five percent of the 1,000 tons of trash the stadium collects each year is recycled.
MetLife also hosts the annual monster truck rally, Monster Jam. The truck event is a mud-filled dirt fest that poses huge cleaning challenges to Rzemieniewski’s staff. He instructed his workers to literally tape the doors of the stadium shut to keep dirt, dust and mud out as much as possible. Despite their best efforts, dust still made it up to the high-reaching third concourse. The cleaning staff now uses massive plastic tarps to gather the huge amounts of dirt that are displaced during the event.
Public Enemy No. 1
Bathrooms, food service floors, and high traffic hallways may seem like the frontrunners for the most challenging cleaning task at MetLife. Public enemy No. 1, however, is the birds.
“We were having a huge issue outside,” Rzemieniewski said. “Their [excrement was] killing our steel beams. The pigeons and starlings that flock to the stadium have posed a consistent problem for the MetLife cleaning crew.
The stadium went to creative lengths to solve the problem, hiring a falconer, and mounting fake birds of prey to detract the pesky birds. When that didn’t work, and thousands of dollars spent on other tactics also failed, Rzemieniewski finally resorted to large scale netting.
“Image Credit: wikimedia.org“