Sports Teams Go to Bat for the Environment

The Cincinnati Reds' stadium, the Great American Ballpark, adheres to green practices. Photo: Cincinnati Reds

The Cincinnati Reds’ stadium, the Great American Ballpark, adheres to green practices. Photo: Cincinnati Reds

When Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds, opened in 2003, the Reds unveiled a stadium that was more energy-efficient than its previous stadium — and that was just the beginning. Since then, they have launched their sweeping Red Goes Green initiatives to become one of the greenest teams in Major League Baseball.

Starting with energy conservation through reduced power usage and lighting efficiency, they also unveiled a comprehensive recycling plan that collected everything from grass clippings to cooking oil. Their efforts have continued, and they’re now collecting and recycling more than 96 tons of cardboard, cans, bottles, metal, cooking oil and grass clippings in a single season. They also host special recycling events, such as e-waste recycling drives featuring current and former players.

“Our overall mission is to be good stewards of the environment,” explains Michael Anderson, public relations manager for the team. “We owe it to our fans and taxpayers to operate [the ballpark] in a manner that is efficient, fiscally prudent and environmentally friendly.”

The Reds aren’t alone in their efforts; in fact, a growing number of professional sports teams are taking responsibility for their environmental impact and making drastic changes to reduce their carbon footprint. In 2010, the formation of the nonprofit Green Sports Alliance provided green-minded teams, venues and leagues with solutions and support to improve their environmental performance. When it made its national debut in 2011, the GSA had just 11 teams on board; today, it represents more than 170 teams and venues from 16 different pro and college leagues. Most recently, AEG — the behemoth worldwide concert promoter and one of the largest sports and entertainment companies in the world — joined the GSA, pledging to maintain green initiatives at its venues.

Next page: Changing the Game

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