Green Ballpark Hosts 80th MLB All-Star Game

Vivi Gorman
Posted on Monday 13th July 2009

As baseball’s shining stars are featured in the 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game Tuesday night at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo., the sport’s environmentally conscious efforts are worth noting, especially where an estimated 80 million spectators watch each year.

The Busch Stadium is the home of the St. Louis Cardinals, which launched an environmental initiative last year that includes recycling paper, aluminum and plastic products left from fans. The team made a pledge of environmental stewardship and sustainability and work to minimize waste, conserve energy and water and use environmentally friendly products at the stadium. The team also promotes eco-conscious modes of transportation.


The Cardinals are registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an EPA Waste Wise Partner. Through concessionaire initiatives, in 2008, the Cardinals and DNC Sportservice diverted approximately 300 tons of waste from local landfills. DNC provides carrying trays made from recyclable and biodegradable material and substituted plastic boxes to paper wrapping.

In March 2008, the league announced a partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), two years in the making, to promote and coordinate environmentally conscious practices. Together, Major League Baseball and NRDC created The NRDC Team Greening Advisor for Major League Baseball, a guide for individual clubs to implement such measures.

6th Inning Cleanup

Since then, other teams have jumped on the green train. The Tampa Bay Rays last year purchased carbon credits to offset the carbon dioxide produced by fans traveling to their field as well as for the energy used at the field on their opening day. The team launched an aggressive recycling effort that resulted in preventing hundreds of thousands of cans and bottles from being disposed as trash. According to the league, a collection is done during the sixth inning of every game. The Rays have also shifted their concessions to using recyclable and biodegradable products. The Rays were later awarded a Tampa Bay Sustainable Business Award.

The Philadelphia Phillies also purchased renewable energy credits to offset the amount of energy used at their Citizens Bank Park stadium. The Phillies were the first Major League Baseball team to join the EPA's Green Power Partnership program. The team implemented numerous recycling, energy reduction, environmentally friendly cleaning and water runoff measures at the stadium. The Phillies facility also implemented a program to recycle frying oil to be converted into bio-diesel fuel and other measures to reduce food-related waste.

Fenway Park stadium, home of the Red Sox, has installed solar panels as part of a commitment to alternative energy and installed over 100 recycling bins around the stadium. The San Francisco Giants have also installed solar panels at their AT&T Park. At Fenway, grass mowers run on biodiesel fuel and grass clippings are left to decompose in lieu of using fertilizer and water for field maintenance. The grounds crew workers use electric-powered utility carts. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros have likewise made similar environmentally conscious changes at their clubs.

Many of the teams that have gone green, at least 10 according to the EPA, have also paid attention to how fans arrive at the fields, promoting public transportation use and carpooling and installing bike racks. Several ballparks were built to be LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, such as the Washington National’s new stadium.

We Play Green

Athletes have individually made a stand in support of eco-friendly commitments through We Play Green, an organization founded by professional baseball players Chris Dickerson of the Cincinnati Reds and Jack Cassel of the Cleveland Indians. We Play Green was launched to bring professional athletes together to promote environmental awareness and action. The foundation assists teams in using reusable or more environmentally conscious products as well as implementing recycling and conservation programs. The number of We Play Green members is continually growing and includes athletes from baseball, ice hockey, football, soccer and beach volleyball. We Play Green member Chase Utley of the Phillies is playing in the All-Star game.

So, when you’re doing the seventh inning stretch, reach for the recycling bin and be part of baseball’s new higher consciousness.

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