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Fun fact: football fans produce more than 39 million pounds of waste each year

Nov 16, 2012, 3:43 PM EDT

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stadiumtrash Getty Images

Believe it or not, all that garbage you leave behind at your college or NFL tailgate party may be one of the reasons your team isn’t winning. “Whush thish?” you ask (your mouth is full of kielbasa).

Look at it this way: NFL games draw an average of 70,000 fans to stadiums, and college football, about 50,000. Even if you don’t tailgate, there’s plenty of garbage left behind in the stands. Your team has to clean that up, and cleaning up after you can be expensive.

So, teams which are smart and thrifty with recycling and waste removal therefore have more money to spend on players, or scholarships, or whatever. Turns out there’s a lot of money to be made in sports garbage. Venturebeat.com:

Waste Remedies, a St. Louis-based firm that helps businesses reduce their waste management costs and inefficiencies, has secured $7.25 million in second round funding from Advantage Capital Partners, working in partnership with Southwest Bank.

The proceeds will be used to expand the company’s 12-person team and to upgrade its financial software, CEO Tim Gray said.

Waste Remedies works with professional sports teams to provide waste removal and recycling services.

It helps reduce its clients’ costs by 30 to 50 percent, or around $5 million a year, Gray says, through bulk purchasing, fixing logistical inefficiencies and organizing recycling programs.

Earth911 did some math, and figured that football stadiums alone stadiums produce more than 39 million pounds of waste each year, enough waste, says the site, to cover an entire football field and more.

College and professional teams across the country have begun to put that waste to work with ambitious recycling programs. For example, the Houston Texans are encouraging fans, employees and team members to recycle with special bins for plastic bottles, cups, and aluminum cans. In 2011, the Texans distributed approximately 850,000 plastic bottles during the season, so this program has the potential for making a large impact.

As for MLB, at least you can’t fault the Miami Marlins for failing to recycle.