Blog Archives

Astros Blazing a Trail on Earth Day

By Brian McTaggart, MLB.com

The Astros joined the rest of baseball in celebrating Earth Day on Sunday, and the club boasts a variety of green initiatives, including LED lighting at Minute Maid Park.

Major League Baseball was the first professional sports league to have all of its teams as members of the Green Sports Alliance, which promotes healthy, sustainable communities in sports. In fact, MLB clubs diverted more than 20,000 tons of recycled or composted waste during the 2017 season.

The Astros have retrofitted light fixtures in their front-office spaces and converted center-field lighting to LED. They also provide single-stream recycling opportunities for fans and engage in cardboard, pallet and electronic recycling — maintaining a 5-percent increase in their diversion rate each year.

What’s more, the Astros and Nationals are currently pursuing LEED Silver certification at their Spring Training facility, The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Fla. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications are given to buildings that meet strict guidelines for environmental responsibility by using less water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Read full article here.

Arizona Diamondbacks Given Green Sports Alliance Award

By James Billington, Stadia Magazine

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The Green Sports Alliance has recognized 10 individuals and organizations with its Environmental Innovators of the Year award and among those included for their sustainability efforts is Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks.

The D-Backs received the award as a result of initiatives such as adding 200 new recycling bins, increasing recycling tonnage by 170% (314 tons recycled per year), and introducing eco-friendly hand dryers that replaced 350 miles of paper towels and low-flush toilets and urinals to reduce water use by 50%.

In addition, the D-Backs partnered with Levy Restaurants to donate 9 tons of food to a local shelter and teamed up with UnitedHealthcare to develop a vertical garden on the exterior of the ballpark, donating fresh produce to Kitchen on the Street, a non-profit organization that aims to eliminate child hunger.

The awards, which are now in their seventh year, celebrate the sports greening movement, and the other nine organizations that were given the coveted accolade were: Aramark, BASF, Hampton Farms and the Kansas City Chiefs; Greg Martin of Martin Design Partnership; Melbourne Cricket Club; Raka 7s Rugby Tournament; Sacramento Running Association; US Bank Stadium; University of Texas Austin; University of Washington Department of Athletics; and Vegan Night with the Pittsburgh Pirates and PNC Park.

Read the full article here.

Game Day Garbage: Reducing Food and Plastic Waste

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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.

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