PHOENIX -- Earth Day was officially Sunday, but for the D-backs, their concern for environmental sustainability is a year-round priority.On Sunday, the organization harvested the D-backs Greens Urban Garden, presented by UnitedHealthCare, which is a vertical garden visible to both fans and commuters on the exterior of the ballpark.In collaboration
PHOENIX -- Earth Day was officially Sunday, but for the D-backs, their concern for environmental sustainability is a year-round priority.
On Sunday, the organization harvested the D-backs Greens Urban Garden, presented by UnitedHealthCare, which is a vertical garden visible to both fans and commuters on the exterior of the ballpark.
In collaboration with Flower Street Urban Gardens, the D-backs added D-backs Greens at the end of last year. It became the first vertical garden in Major League Baseball.
When they harvest the plants in the garden, the D-backs and UnitedHealthcare work with local schools to involve children in the process to help teach kids about how they can grow their own fruits and vegetables at home.
The vegetables and herbs harvested on Sunday will be donated to Kitchen on the Street. In addition, Flower Street Urban Gardens will provide a free garden to one school and one business.
Over the years the D-backs have incorporated the following changes to positively affect environmental change:
• This past March, partnered with Arizona State University's School of Sustainability and MLB to test zero waste strategies with the overarching goals of reducing landfill impact, increasing operational efficiencies and improving the fan experience at Salt River Fields and other Cactus League venues.
• In partnership with Waste Management, the D-backs added 200 new recycling/waste receptacles throughout the ballpark prior to the 2017 season, contributing to a 170 percent increase in recycling tons and a 22 percent decrease in waste tonnage sent to landfill.
• In 2017, 50 high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryers were installed in concourse restrooms, which removed more than 350 miles of paper towels from the waste stream.
• In 2017, the D-backs established a new compost collection program and diverted 50 tons of organic materials from the waste stream.
• The D-backs installed low-flow flush valves in 425 toilets and 260 urinals, which reduced water usage by 50% in these areas during the 2017 season.
• In 2017, the D-backs and Levy Restaurants donated more than nine tons of stadium food from Chase Field to Church on the Street. The donated food equals more than 16,000 meals that help people in the Phoenix community.
• Replaced fluorescent lighting along the ballpark concourses with energy-efficient LED lighting that reduced the main concourse lighting power consumption by 60 percent in these areas.
• Contributing members of the Green Sports Alliance, a coalition of professional sports teams and sporting venues committed to promoting "greening initiatives" in sports.
• The APS Solar Pavilion, which covers 17,280 square feet above the Chase Field plaza near the ballpark's western entrances and ticket office, provides extra shade over the ballpark's heaviest used entrances and generates 100,000 kWh of solar energy; enough electricity to power the lights at Chase Field for 11 home games.
• APS Electric vehicle chargers located outside Chase Field for fans to charge their car and learn more about alternative energy-powered cars.
• Media guides are available electronically; D-backs Insider magazine is printed with soy ink on recycled paper; most marketing collateral printed on FSC certified products.
• Renovation of Game Seven Grill on the Gila River Casinos Plaza included high-efficiency LED lighting and conversion of building to Building Management System to efficiently control energy use.
• D-backs gameday event and concessions staff shirts are each made from RPET fabric (each shirt created from 16 recycled plastic bottles).
• Grease is recycled into biodiesel fuel and vendors distribute bio-based and compostable food service items.
• All paper products used at Chase Field are comprised of recycled material.
• D-backs' Spring Training complex, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, was the first LEED Gold-certified sports venue of its kind in the United States.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.