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Blog Archives

Game Day Garbage: Reducing Food and Plastic Waste

2018.04.25-Game Day Garbage-IMAGE

All around the world, sports fans flock to stadiums, arenas and ballparks to cheer for their favorite teams. With many of these fans consuming food and drinks during events, an enormous amount of waste is generated by the sports industry each year. In the U.S. alone, major league baseball fans create more than 1,000 tons of waste every season—and until recently, all but a tiny percentage has made its way into landfills.

That is changing, thanks to Cargill’s bioplastics joint venture NatureWorks, the world’s largest producer of polylactic acid polymer, called Ingeo™️ PLA. The company is enabling more sports waste to be diverted away from landfills.

NatureWorks grew out of a Cargill research and development project in the 1990s. The team came up with a low-carbon-footprint resin, made by fermenting sugar into lactic acid and forming it into hard pellets, which are then sold to manufacturers. The pellets can be used in a variety of products normally made from plastics or fibers, including diapers, coffee capsules, 3D printing filament, cell phone cases, and foodservice packaging. Marketed under the brand name Ingeo™️, some of these products can be designed to be 100% compostable.

At Target Field, home to the Minnesota Twins baseball team, located in Minneapolis just 13 miles from Cargill headquarters, the team has partnered with Eco-Products, a foodservice manufacturer, to provide cups, plates, trays, and eating utensils made from Ingeo materials—all of which can make it easier to collect food waste to be sent to compost.

Bottles and cans have long been recycled at the ballpark, but by composting Ingeo-based products more commonly made from oil-based plastics, the Twins have increased the amount of waste diverted from landfills to 90 percent.

All around the world, more teams are taking on the challenge of increasing the sustainability of their game-day operations. Some venues are converting waste into compost, used as mulch on fields and green spaces.

“Over the past several years, a number of sports teams with recycling and composting rates around 10 percent have dramatically increased their rates to 80 percent or more,” said Scott Jenkins, chairman of the Green Sports Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping enhance the environmental performance of sports teams, venues and leagues.

As stadiums expand their use of Ingeo-based goods to reduce landfill waste, NatureWorks is looking to help other industries, like the restaurant sector, minimize their carbon footprints, increase organics diversion and to help make all food service ware more environmentally sustainable.

That’s a goal everyone can cheer for.

View the story here.

MLB Celebrates ‘Earth Day’ by Highlighting Sustainability Efforts

MLB News

MLB Greening Logo (1)

Major League Baseball is celebrating ‘Earth Day’ (Sunday, April 22nd) by highlighting a variety of league-wide sustainability efforts activated by MLB and its clubs. Key initiatives include ‘GREEN TEAMS’ and sustainability-focused activations during MLB All-Star Week in Washington, D.C., partnerships with Arizona State University & Change the Course, front office volunteer efforts as well as efforts led by MLB Clubs.

‘GREEN TEAMS’ & Sustainable Activations During 2018 All-Star Week
Major League Baseball will continue to support sustainable efforts during its Midsummer Classic in Washington, D.C. this coming July. During All-Star Week (Thursday, July 12th-Tuesday, July 17th), MLB will partner with George Washington University and Georgetown University to activate ‘GREEN TEAMS,’ a group of students that encourages environmental awareness during MLB All-Star events. ‘GREEN TEAM’ efforts include a college course with a sustainability focus, collecting recyclables at ballpark and community events, and educating fans on positive environmental practices. ‘GREEN TEAM’ members will also participate in a special All-Star environmental volunteer event at Richard England Clubhouse #14 of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.

MLB will also seek to offset the environmental footprint of player travel, to and from Washington, D.C., as well as offsetting energy and water used at Nationals Park by purchasing renewable energy credits and water restoration credits in conjunction with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation and the Change the Course program. Additionally, MLB will encourage fans to walk or take public transportation in between events with a special ‘Kaiser Permanente All-Star Green Path.’

Special Spring Training Activations with Arizona State University & Change the Course
Major League Baseball and Arizona State University collaborated on a unique and groundbreaking sustainability partnership during 2018 Spring Training presented by Camping World. Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Spring Training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, was the focus site of the “Recycle Rally” initiative that tested and implemented zero waste strategies with the overarching goals of reducing landfill impact, increasing operational efficiencies, and improving the fan experience across all Cactus League ballparks.

MLB also partnered with Change the Course, a national freshwater restoration campaign, to offset 100% of water usage in the Cactus League this year by rehabilitating endangered watersheds. MLB balanced the water footprint of the Cactus League and helped restore five million gallons of freshwater in critically depleted rivers and streams across Arizona. The offset of water funded the Colorado River Basin and tributaries, primarily supporting the Verde River.

Upcycling With Refried Tees
As part of its green initiative, Major League Baseball recognizes upcycling as an innovative means toward a green and sustainable future. In support of those efforts, MLB licensee Refried Tees is proud to display MLB’s Official Green Label on its Twice-Baked™ Apparel. Refried Tees helps teams and licensees cycle surplus inventory back into the marketplace by transforming dead-stock tee shirts and jerseys into stylish apparel such as dresses, skirts and t-shirts.

MLB Front Office to Volunteer at Local Variety Boys & Girls Clubs
April 21st in Queens, N.Y. – In celebration of Earth Day, front office employees at MLB, MLB Network and MLB Advanced Media will volunteer at the Variety Boys & Girls Club in Queens, N.Y. Volunteers will be tasked with revitalizing the Club, including planting flowers and building raised planters for the garden, enhancing the media room and building a small, portable library for Club members.

MLB to Donate Excess Food Following ‘MLB FoodFest’
Following the first-ever ‘MLB FoodFest’, Major League Baseball will donate excess food to City Harvest, the world’s first food rescue organization, dedicated to helping feed the nearly 1.3 million New Yorkers facing hunger. ‘MLB Foodfest’ is a one-of-a kind indoor food festival featuring special selections from each of the 30 MLB Clubs served under one roof. The event will be held over two days beginning on Saturday, April 21st and concluding on Sunday, April 22nd in New York City.

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MLB and Arizona State University to Launch Unique Sustainability Partnership Ahead of 2018 Spring Training Presented by Camping World

Major League Baseball
Initiatives include moving toward zero waste levels at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick and examining waste diversion practices at all ten Cactus League ballparks

Major League Baseball and Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability (ASU) today announced a groundbreaking 2018 Spring Training presented by Camping World partnership that will see the two organizations undertaking sustainability efforts during parts of the Cactus League schedule.

Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Spring Training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, will be the focus site of the “Recycle Rally” initiative that will test and implement zero waste strategies with the overarching goals of reducing landfill impact, increasing operational efficiencies and improving the fan experience across all Cactus League ballparks. This new and unique partnership will launch tomorrow Wednesday, February 21st when the Arizona Diamondbacks host Arizona State University for a Spring Training exhibition game. Salt River Fields is expected to host nearly 300,000 fans over the course of the 2018 Spring Training presented by Camping World.

As part of the initiative, a group of eleven ASU undergraduate and graduate students will analyze the waste stream and operations at Salt River Fields to help the venue become more environmentally friendly. ASU will then determine how the D-backs and Rockies can minimize, and most effectively manage, waste, including adopting effective waste diversion practices at the ballpark through recycling, reusing and composting. Additionally, the partnership will engage fans during Spring Training games at Salt River Fields through a series of interactive and fun-focused activities that educate about the challenges and impacts of waste.

“The Arizona Diamondbacks are proud to call Salt River Fields home and are excited to partner with Arizona State University and Major League Baseball on this initiative,” said Arizona Diamondbacks President & CEO Derrick Hall. “We want do our part to ensure that future generations of D-backs fans can appreciate the beautiful Arizona landscape and will continue to focus on improving sustainability efforts throughout Spring Training and all season long at Chase Field.”

“The Rockies continue to put a strong emphasis on sustainability at Coors Field, so we are very proud that this partnership with ASU and MLB will educate us and further minimize the environmental impact of the entire Salt River Fields complex, making an already LEED Gold Certified facility even better,” said Colorado Rockies Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Greg Feasel.

While Salt River Fields will be the initial focus of the initiative, MLB and ASU will work with individual Clubs to incorporate a snapshot-level analysis for all Cactus League ballparks in 2018. The groups will visit each of the 10 Cactus League ballparks at least once during Spring Training for high-level analysis, documentation of current waste systems, and recommending opportunities for improvement.

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