MLB Going Green in 2012 Season

by Lauren Verini

Living in the tri-state area, we’re pretty lucky to be surrounded by numerous professional sports teams. While not all of us follow sports, going to the ballpark on a warm spring day seems like a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon. One local team in particular, the New York Mets, made an announcement recently that they were stepping up their efforts to go green this year, and so we decided to see what other baseball teams are keeping the environment in mind this spring. With thousands of fans attending games multiple times per week, just the waste alone can add up, and we are happy to see that the MLB is taking steps to reduce their waste and go green.

New York Mets

Building off of the green initiatives from when it opened three years ago, including recycled concrete, hands free faucets and underground wells to irrigate the field, Citi Field continues to step it up this year with even more green initiatives to get the fans involved. Starting this spring, Citi Field will have composting in all kitchens, suites, clubs and restaurants, and the grass from the field will also be composted. The fryer oil will be recycled and the waste oil will be converted into biodiesel fuel used for equipment. For every trashcan located in the ballpark, there will be a new recycling bin right beside it and beer will no longer be served in cups to help further reduce waste. They will also incorporate green cleaning products, compostable utensil and recycled plates.

Cleveland Indians

Progressive Field, home to the Cleveland Indians, proudly introduced the MLB’s first wind turbine this year. The innovative, corkscrew shaped turbine is located at the southeast corner of the ballpark. Aside from using alternative energy, the team’s green initiative, “Our Tribe is Green”, focuses on recycling by incorporating Pepsi recyclable containers, in addition to incorporating 100% Green Seal Certified paper towels and toilet paper. As of 2008, all of the signs installed in the park feature LED lighting to cut down on CO2 emissions.

Seattle Mariners

The Seattle Mariners have long been supporting the green movement. From 2006 to 2009, Safeco Field conducted energy audits and reduced natural gas usage by 44% and electricity by 17%, saving more than 1 million dollars. This year’s earth day, the team coordinated a carbon-neutral game for the 5th year in a row and gave out Safeco Field Soil from Cedar Grove Composting to over 5,000 fans, which they will continue to do throughout the summer. In addition, the stadium features 4 electric vehicle charging stations, solar panels on roof and 16 zero waste stations where fans can recycle and compost their waste. Educating their fans on ways to go green is important to the Mariners; each Saturday their awareness program focuses on various green issues through free products and trivia games.

Boston Red Sox

Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox, celebrate their 100th anniversary this year and also tremendous steps they have taken to be more sustainable and eco-friendly. In 2008, the Red Sox were the first MLB team to install solar thermal panels at their park – helping to avoid 18 tons of CO2 emissions annually. In addition, there are several solar powered big belly trash compactors that help to hold more trash and keep the park clean and energy efficient LED lighting on some of the large billboards. Also, the Poland Spring Green Team, which is made up of approximately 75 local college students, help clean up plastic bottles during every game.

We hope all of these current green initiatives from the above teams will inspire other MLB teams to take a look at what they can do to make a difference.

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