MLB, clubs plan for big Earth Day celebration

April 22nd, 2022

Friday is Earth Day, and Major League Baseball and its clubs are ready to once again join in the celebration of our planet.

As part of a long tenure of supporting earth-friendly practices, MLB, its clubs, its partners and other volunteers will help promote green initiatives through events, programming and awards on Friday and beyond.

The festivities include unveiling the winner of the Green Glove Award, the highest honor in the league for sustainability, for the 2021 season. This cycle’s recipient is the Minnesota Twins, marking the first time a club has won the award outside of the Giants and the Mariners, who have long been leaders in the green space. 

The Twins produced a near-100% waste diversion rate through practices including recycling, composting, food donations and energy recovery. The club is also partnering with MLB Network to distribute 100% recyclable tote bags to the first 10,000 fans at their game on Aug. 1 against the Tigers.

The finalists for the 2021 Green Glove Award were the Blue Jays, Cardinals, Giants, Mariners, Nationals and Pirates.

Some of the Earth Day activities on Friday will be extensions of ongoing green efforts across MLB clubs, including tree plantings, electronics recycling drives and urban gardening. But some of them are brand new.

For instance, the Padres will celebrate their transition to 100% renewable energy at Petco Park, announced this week, ahead of their game with Dodgers on Friday.

The Brewers also announced this week the creation of their Sustainability Council, which will be spearheaded by Brewers pitcher Brent Suter and founding partner SC Johnson with the aim to review, discuss and implement the best sustainability practices at American Family Field.

In the American League, the White Sox and their concessions partner, Delaware North Sportservice, will debut a new program to give drink coasters lined with wildflower seeds for fans to take home and grow more oxygen-radiating plants in their communities.

These unique events and honors are just a few ways in which MLB recognizes the importance of being a good steward of the planet. The list of ongoing sustainable initiatives continues to grow across its 30 clubs. A quick look at some of the numbers:

• 22 clubs practice E-waste recycling
• 22 clubs have installed LED field lighting
• 19 clubs operate food donation programs
• 12 ballparks utilize on-site gardens
• 10 ballparks use solar power
• 10 ballparks feature electric vehicle charging stations
• 10 clubs activate regular-season Green Teams, who ensure recyclables are disposed of in proper bins
• Seven clubs have permanently eliminated plastic straws from ballparks
• Six ballparks are LEED certified

MLB and some of its clubs will also work with Anheuser-Busch to launch the National Recycling League, which is “a new multi-sports league coalition aiming to reduce waste on game day.” To achieve that goal, clubs involved will take steps like offering “infinitely” recyclable cups vs. single-use plastics, recycling hawkers who will help fans collect bottles and cans at game, recycling competitions between clubs and enhanced signage in stadiums.

Players for the Planet, a longtime partner of MLB created by former Major League outfielder Chris Dickerson, will be involved in Earth Day in a number of ways, including virtual sessions with Dominican Summer League teams that will culminate in a beach clean-up.

At MLB and MLB Network’s headquarters, special programming has already begun. MLB employees at its main office participated in a beautification volunteer project and electronic waste drive this week. MLB Network’s desk at Studio 3 will light up green for Earth Day on Friday, and the network has produced a video to highlight the celebration across the sport.

The celebration of the planet doesn’t end on Friday. One of the biggest parties of the year in baseball -- All-Star Week -- will also put green practices front and center at Dodger Stadium this July, including Green Teams, volunteer events, energy offsetting, food donations and a “Priceless Planet Coalition” contest with Mastercard.

To see more that will happen on Friday as well as some of MLB’s sustainable initiatives throughout the year, click here.