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.
Delaware North Sportservice, which provides food, beverage and retail services at more than 50 sports venues across the country, and its environmental stewardship platform GreenPath® is committed to maintain the highest sustainability standards at its ballparks, arenas and stadiums. Delaware North Sportservice’s team at Progressive Field, along with its partner the Cleveland Indians, have implemented a system to not only cut down on waste at the ballpark, but also convert it into renewable energy.
Progressive Field hosts thousands of fans each year and produces hundreds of tons of waste from unused food and other products. Much of this waste, however, can be diverted from landfills and converted into an energy source.
By partnering with Grind2Energy, the team at Progressive Field installed a system to collect waste that will eventually be turned into energy. Organic waste from the ballpark is collected after each game and pushed through a commercial disposal and piped into a large tank.
When the tank is full, our end user collects the waste and trucks it to their nearby facility, where is it converted through anaerobic digestion into electricity. The facility is completely self-sustaining and any remaining electricity is pushed into the Cleveland Public Power grid. The unprocessed organic waste (after digestion) is then turned into organic fertilizer.
Since implementing the system in 2014, 192 tons of waste has been collected and converted. In 2016, 76 tons of food scraps were collected and converted into energy and fertilizer, which is equal to:
Heating 41 homes with natural gas for one month
Powering 27 homes with electricity for one month
10,596 pounds of nutrient rich fertilizer
Eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from 121,783 automobile miles
Working with the Cleveland Indians, the majority of initial cost of the waste collection system was covered by a grant through the Ohio EPA.
Today’s Earth Day, a day that reminds us that every bit of waste we make causes unknowable misery for flora and fauna somewhere else in the world. That straw I used to drink my iced coffee with no doubt wound up in a tortoise’s nose. The phone I’m going to use later to read your comments underneath this article not only causes suicides at the factory where it was made, but creates toxic earth that no doubt finds its way into water tables. Sorry about that! I’m a monster!
Human beings just make a mess wherever they go. And we work really hard to make sure we have to do the bare minimum to clean up after ourselves, even affecting laws to make sure we can just dump waste into the ocean. In recent years, the idea of “being green” has been built up as good public relations, and a lot of organizations have done some work to make the appeal to Money that sustainability efforts can also help reduce costs. The San Francisco Giants have, in particular, have heeded the clarion call for responsible energy use and waste management and are one of baseball’s leaders in this area.
Baseball stadiums generate a lot of waste, and not just wasted time between pitches, pitches that are wasted by hitters fouling them off, or wasted scoring opportunities. Think about all the containers your food comes in, all the souvenir packaging, foam fingers, electricity, etc. etc. It feels overwhelming to think about it all, but the Giants have developed some initiatives to deal with the sheer tonnage of waste generated every single time a scheduled game is played.
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