Over 100 ways MLB has gone green

April 22nd, 2020

For the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, below are over 100 green initiatives Major League Baseball and its 30 clubs practice throughout their seasons:

  1. MLB was the first sports league to have all of its clubs become members of the Green Sports Alliance.
  1. Nine clubs operate regular season Green Teams: Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals.
  1. Nineteen MLB clubs have installed LED field lighting.
  1. Seven clubs have permanently eliminated plastic straws from their ballparks: Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals.
  1. MLB works with Discovery Education to educate students on best practices in sustainability and how to make environmentally conscious choices.
  1. Each year the Green Glove Award is given to the club that has the highest waste diversion rate. In 2019, the San Francisco Giants were awarded this achievement after posting a 93 percent diversion rate.
  1. MLB activated a Green Team through working with local community groups and universities at the 2019 World Series and All-Star Game in Cleveland.
  1. Twelve Major League Ballparks operate their own gardens. The gardens at Oracle Park, Busch Stadium, Chase Field, Fenway Park, Coors Field, Nationals Park, PNC Park, Progressive Field and T-Mobile Park are all utilized to source food for concession stands and restaurants at the ballpark.
  1. Ten clubs utilize solar power at their ballparks, including the Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals.
  1. Seven Major League Ballparks are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified in various aspects of their operations, including the Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals.
  1. MLB clubs, including the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals donate leftover food to local food banks and organizations.
  1. Major League Baseball purchases water restoration credits through Bonneville Environmental’s Change the Course program to offset usage during the postseason.
  1. In 2019, MLB activated water filtration systems for the broadcast compound and supplied reusable water bottles to eliminate single-use bottles during the All-Star Game in Cleveland and throughout the Postseason.
  1. Each semester, MLB partners with the Fox Sports University program and a featured university to bring an environmental challenge for students to solve.
  1. The Arizona Diamondbacks have converted all lighting in main concourses and parking areas at Chase Field to energy-efficient LED lighting, resulting in 60 percent savings in power consumption annually in these areas.
  1. The Arizona Diamondbacks have diverted over 90 tons of organic materials from the waste stream since 2017 through a compost collection program with Waste Management.
  1. The Arizona Diamondbacks installed state-of-the-art synthetic grass at Chase Field that has a high-performance surface designed specifically for baseball. This surface provides 90 percent savings (nearly 2 million gallons) in water consumption each season compared to natural grass.
  1. In partnership with UnitedHealthcare, the Arizona Diamondbacks debuted a vertical garden on the exterior of Chase Field -- the first of its kind in MLB.
  1. The Atlanta Braves introduced glass and organics recycling to Truist Park that includes recycling fryer oil and kitchen scraps from the year-round restaurants. They increased their waste diversion from 256 tons (in 2018) to 493 tons (in 2019) through this.
  1. The Braves capture field water through a reclamation system and reuse it for field irrigation, creating approximately 50 percent savings.
  1. The Braves have a comprehensive electric vehicle charging program, which includes over 60 charging stations in the parking lot of Truist Park.
  1. Oriole Park at Camden Yards was awarded LEED Gold Certification in 2018, becoming the oldest facility to earn this certification.
  1. The Baltimore Orioles recycle 600,000 pounds of materials each year.
  1. The Oriole Garden at Camden Yards is a joint effort by the Baltimore Orioles, National Wildlife Federation and its Maryland state affiliate, the National Aquarium, and the Maryland Stadium Authority to attract birds and butterflies through their native plant garden.
  1. The Boston Red Sox partnered with their electricity supplier to offset 100 percent of the park’s electricity consumption with wind or solar generation in 2019.
  1. The Red Sox donated $25,000 to the city’s Parks & Rec. Department and performed a waste sort in 2019.
  1. In 2018, the Boston Red Sox celebrated Earth Day by offsetting all carbon emissions and sorting waste from the game to recover recyclables and food waste.
  1. The Chicago Cubs reduced plastic usage with compostable food packing and utensils in the ballpark and front office, and they provided reusable, customized metal tumblers to staff.
  1. The Cubs employed the use of construction materials harvested and manufactured within 500 miles of the job site where possible, to reduce transportation emissions and support the local economy, and they transported construction debris to recycling centers.
  1. The Cubs’ year-to-date recycling efforts saved nearly 2,000 trees, 570,000 gallons of water and 1,200 yards of landfill space.
  1. The Cubs are uniquely positioned in a neighborhood and near several public transportation hubs, and public transportation continues to be promoted, including a free bicycle valet service that is offered to fans.
  1. The Cubs sourced produce from local sustainable sources whenever possible to reduce fuel consumption and minimized food waste as part of the Measurabl Waste Reduction and Waste Tracking initiative.
  1. The Cubs received U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification for their front-office building (1101 W. Waveland).
  1. The Chicago White Sox have transformed the stadium experience by installing LED Sport Lighting as well as retrofitted various area of the ballpark to LED including parking lots, ramps, service level and concourses, concession stands and restrooms throughout stadium.
  1. The White Sox were the first club to eliminate plastic straws from their ballpark.
  1. In 2008, the White Sox unveiled the first environmentally friendly parking lot to be used by a major league sports facility.
  1. The Cincinnati Reds added LED lighting throughout the entire ballpark.
  1. The Reds have increased their diversion rate in each of the last three seasons.
  1. The Reds and their concessionaire, Delaware North Company, donate discontinued and excess staff uniforms, office supplies, kitchenware and excess food to local non-profit organizations.
  1. The Reds placed 200 recycling bins throughout Great American Ball Park.
  1. The Cleveland Indians have replaced 75 percent of office lights with LED lighting. They continue to change outdated lighting fixtures to LED with plans to replace about 500 in 2020.
  1. The Indians continue to divert food scraps away from the landfill and turn the scraps into a reusable energy source. In 2019, they diverted 121.2 tons.
  1. The Colorado Rockies recycled enough in 2019 to save 2,830 trees and 400 cubic yards of plastic landfill space, and they recycled enough fryer oil to run a car 1,260 miles.
  1. The Rockies have a few “Bike to the Game” days throughout their season where they encourage patrons to bike instead of drive to the game. The first 150 fans to check in receive a giveaway courtesy of UCHealth.
  1. The Detroit Tigers changed out their hand-soap dispensers and containers last season to ones that are 100 percent recyclable.
  1. The Tigers utilize environmentally conscious elements at Comerica Park, including the use of the “Tiger Den” seats, which are comprised of recycled plastic milk jugs.
  1. The Houston Astros have retrofitted light towers with LED lamps and installed LED lighting in their clubhouse, suites and suite level.
  1. The Astros provide single-stream recycling for fans along with their electronic, pallet and cardboard recycling.
  1. The Astros donate leftover food from events, including baseball games, to Second Servings to feed those in need.
  1. The Astros switched their disposable service ware to eco-friendly materials for food service.
  1. The Kansas City Royals recycled 17.65 tons of glass in 2018. In 2017, they teamed up with Ripple Glass where they put bins specific for glass outside their gates.
  1. The Los Angeles Angels reuse up to 80 percent of green waste generated at the Stadium as mulch around the stadium grounds. They lower their water usage and green waste by replacing certain landscapes with drought tolerant palettes.
  1. The Angels have installed and utilize OilMatic, which is a bulk cooking oil supply & system. This system collects waste oils safely, and the oil is cleaned and converted into renewable biodiesel. The system also reduces the carbon footprint by reducing the cardboard and plastic wastes that come with oil delivery, minimal grease trap maintenance, etc.
  1. The Angels are utilizing the Green Sports Alliance’s Greener Cleaning Playbook to purchase higher quality cleaning products and equipment that are more effective, efficient, safer to use and less wasteful.
  1. The Angels are introducing straw-less lids into their concessions to begin the transition into going straw-less.
  1. The Los Angeles Dodgers donated almost 19,000 pounds of office furniture from their sales offices remodel in 2019 to their Dream Foundation, which supports youth development programs.
  1. The Dodgers donate their leftover food items to Midnight Mission.
  1. The Dodgers recycled 827 tons of bottles, cans, cardboard, food waste, fryer oil, pallets, etc. that were collected during the baseball season.
  1. Marlins Park is the first retractable-roof sports facility in the world to earn LEED Gold Certification.
  1. The Miami Marlins’ landscape design features native plant species, as well as species that have lower water demands, achieving a 60 percent reduction in the potable water used for irrigation.
  1. Through the thoughtful design of the building, the Miami Ballpark District achieved a 22.4 percent (by cost) energy-use reduction.
  1. The Marlins were able to divert or recycle greater than 75 percent of construction waste through the combined efforts of Hunt-Moss Joint Venture and Suffolk Construction.
  1. The Milwaukee Brewers entered into a partnership with SC Johnson in which they will collect plastic waste used at Miller Park and repurpose it to make Scrubbing Bubbles bottles, one of the company’s cleaning products. This partnership is a first for American professional sports.
  1. The Minnesota Twins implemented a custom-designed rainwater recycle system provided by Pentair that purified and reused more than 19 million gallons of rainwater.
  1. The Twins were selected to receive a 2019 Leadership Award for outstanding commitment to advancing green building by USGBC.
  1. The Twins partnered with Eco-Products so the majority of concessions packaging is now compostable at Target Field.
  1. The Twins have a “living wall” at Target Field that has 5,700 juniper plants creating a green backdrop. This self-irrigated (via Pentair’s rainwater system) structure enhances the stadiums sustainability platform.
  1. Through partnership with Rock and Wrap It Up! and Delaware North, the Minnesota Twins have donated 63 tons of food to local charities.
  1. The New York Mets offset 100 percent of their carbon emissions with a portfolio that includes Renewable Energy Certificates through wind power and Voluntary Emission Reduction offsets with forest protection and efficient cookstoves projects.
  1. The Mets have green landscaping, including an 11,000 square foot green roof, 65,000 square feet of porous pavement and 96,000 square feet of reflective roofing.
  1. The Mets have waterless urinals, low-flow fixtures and XLERATOReco hand dryers throughout Citi Field.
  1. The Mets have a back-of-house and field/yard waste-compost program, and they donate food postgame.
  1. The New York Yankees are presently diverting 85 percent of waste to composting and recycling.
  1. The Yankees carefully measure and offset unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions through a collaboration with The South Pole Group. The high quality, third-party-verified GHG offsets that the Yankees invest in are carefully chosen to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, benefiting communities in need in Africa by promoting new employment opportunities, protecting biodiversity and improving health and safety, including the distribution of thousands of life-saving high-efficiency cookstoves.
  1. The LED lights used at Yankee Stadium are 40 percent more efficient and 50 percent brighter than the previous field lighting used at the Stadium. Improved optical design with twice the aiming points reduces glare and light pollution, and the energy saved from the new field lighting is enough to power about 45 homes every day.
  1. Yankee Stadium uses high-performance filters and a regular replacement program to ensure particle-removal effectiveness of MERV 13 or greater, for better air quality and energy efficiency in our HVAC system.
  1. The Oakland Athletics are creating a volunteer "Green Team" that will be collecting and sorting recyclables in the seating bowl during every Friday night home game.
  1. The Athletics are pledging to build and privately finance an electrically powered gondola system that will enhance connectivity and provide a new civic amenity with unparalleled views of Oakland’s iconic waterfront.
  1. The Athletics installed LED lights in their parking lot and within their perimeter and stadium concourse lighting areas.
  1. The Athletics are investing in new protections and fortifications against anticipated sea level rise and shore erosion at the Port to the benefit of both the ballpark district and neighboring communities and businesses.
  1. For each home run hit by a Philadelphia Phillies player during the season, a tree is planted as part of Home Runs for Trees, a partnership with PGW and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Over 1,200 trees have been planted in the Delaware Valley since the inception of this program.
  1. The Phillies’ food waste from all their kitchens is composted through W.B. Saul High School’s Henry Got Compost student composting initiative. In addition, an overnight crew after games focuses on aluminum can separation recycling.
  1. Since 2008, the Pittsburgh Pirates have successfully diverted more than 6 million pounds of materials from PNC Park out of the waste stream through the club’s sustainability efforts.
  1. The San Diego Padres installed the largest solar array in MLB comprised of 716 470-watt solar panels, which will generate 330 kilowatts of solar power (enough to power the Padres’ front office). It will also produce over 12 million kilowatt hours over the next 25 years.
  1. The Padres’ recycling bins are made from recycled plastic milk jugs.
  1. The Padres implemented digital ticketing and paperless tickets/invoices for fans to reduce material use and improve waste diversion.
  1. Petco Park diverts 100 percent of electronic and construction waste from landfills and 75 percent of general waste is diverted from landfills.
  1. The San Francisco Giants divert 93 percent of all waste at Oracle Park from landfills.
  1. The Giants received two awards in 2019: they were recognized as an Innovator of the Year by the Green Sports Alliance, and they received the Environmental Service Award by the San Francisco Department of the Environment.
  1. Oracle Park was recently certified in 2019 as LEED Platinum for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance -- the first sports venue in America to earn this.
  1. Last season, the Seattle Mariners installed four new Level 2 Electric Vehicle Chargers located on the plaza next to the Mariners Garage, open to the public 24/7. The chargers have helped avoid 3,294 kg of greenhouse gas emissions.
  1. T-Mobile Park features plant-based sustainable food options at The Natural Café, located behind Section 132 on the main concourse. The café serves up vegan sausages along with several plant-based snack options for fans to reduce the footprint associated with their food’s supply chain.
  1. In 2018, the Mariners received EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge National Award for diverting 761 tons of food waste to compost, and over 3 tons of surplus food was donated to local programs.
  1. The St. Louis Cardinals had an 18 oz. glass water bottle with a bamboo lid giveaway to fans with a special theme ticket and a portion of the ticket was donated to support sustainability on their 2019 Earth Day game.
  1. The Cardinals recycle an average of 8.45 tons per game.
  1. In addition, in 2019 the Cardinals expanded their rooftop Redbird Garden by 33 percent. Delaware North has partnered with Urban Harvest to provide 25 percent of the garden’s footprint to grow food solely for donations to local pantries. DNC has also committed to donating 50 percent of what is grown to local pantries as well.
  1. The Tampa Bay Rays are actively engaged with BayWatch, and their employees volunteer to plant sea grass beds and on other projects to restore Tampa.
  1. The Rays have retrofitted 95 percent of all stadium light fixtures throughout Tropicana Field, replacing over 700 metal halide lights with energy efficient LED lighting during the 2019 season. This has provided them better reliability, conserved energy and created a potential savings of $300,000 each year.
  1. Globe Life Field has a synthetic playing surface that requires very little water compared to the natural grass of the Rangers' previous ballpark. The infill used in this turf is also comprised of natural materials rather than the rubber pellets used in most synthetic surfaces.
  1. Globe Life Field’s retractable roof is equipped with translucent ETFE panels that allow ample natural light into the building cutting back on energy (lighting) costs.
  1. The Texas Rangers have some parking lots that feature LED lights and time clocks programmed to shut off when they are not needed. Their other lots that do not have LED lights still feature the time clocks to limit their operating time.
  1. The Rangers use water from ballpark lakes for irrigation on grass areas of the exterior landscaping. Additionally, native plants have been used around Globe Life Field’s exterior. These plants require less water and generally do not require as much maintenance as plants not native to this climate.
  1. Globe Life Field has areas and items that have been built using recycled or reclaimed materials. Examples of this include using reclaimed wood for tables on our concourses and walls in our suites level.
  1. The Rangers have partnered with North Central Council of Governments to bring commuters a new Park and Ride lot.
  1. The Washington Nationals teamed up with WGL Energy Systems to install 4,080 solar panels above the GEICO Garage & Garage C with SGC Power as the developer.
  1. The Nationals’ food-service items (plates, cups, cutlery, trays, coffee stir sticks, etc.) are now all compostable.
  1. The Nationals expanded the rooftop garden, which will now yield crops for three growing cycles including over 25 varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs that are harvested before each homestand and used in food and cocktails sold throughout the Park. All items that the garden produces while the start of the MLB season is delayed is being donated to the club’s Youth Baseball Academy.