For many baseball promotions, waste is an unfortunate afterthought. It could be in the form of bobblehead packaging, team schedules that are only good six months or a poster for a soon-to-be free agent.
But the Seattle Mariners are taking things in a different direction for the team’s 2010 Earth Day promotion.
This year is the second annual “Strive for Zero Waste” campaign at Seattle’s Safeco Field, where the Mariners are partnering with Cedar Grove Composting to divert as much waste from landfills as possible during Wednesday night’s game versus the Baltimore Orioles.
Also on Wednesday, the Mariners will kick-off of a season-long campaign to divert 500 tons of organic material from landfills, which includes grass clippings and ballpark food.
So, what does a zero waste baseball game look like? If you’re purchasing any concessions, they will likely come in compostable plates and bowls labeled with the Cedar Grove logo and a brown stripe that signifies they are compostable.
Also, once attendees have departed the stadium at the conclusion of the game, volunteers will go around collecting any recyclables and food waste left in the stands.
By partnering with a commercial composter, the team is also able to keep food-contaminated items out of landfills. Typically, paper napkins and cardboard that comes into contact with oil is not recyclable, but it is able to break down in compost systems.
The Mariners have an advantage over other baseball teams in that Seattle as a city has committed to go zero waste as part of the “Wasteless in Seattle” campaign. This means that residents and businesses have increased access to recycling and composting opportunities. But that doesn’t mean other teams aren’t celebrating Earth Day in style:
– The Atlanta Braves are offering discounted tickets for the team’s May 19 game for anyone who brings recyclables to the ballpark.
– The Cincinnati Reds are collecting electronics for recycling at two Kroger stores on April 22 and 24 and will off-set the carbon emissions for the April 22 game.
– The Cleveland Indians gave away green hats made of 100 percent recycled plastic bottles during the game on April 17.
– The Philadelphia Phillies collected cell phones at Citizens Bank Park on April 17-18 and donated them to the Philadelphia Zoo’s “Return the Call of the Wild” program to raise funds for endangered primates in Vietnam.
– The Washington Nationals will promote using public transportation with discounts for the April 22 game to those who have a metro farecard, and offer half-price tickets for those who bring recyclables to the park.
“The commitment by our national pastime to enhance its ecological profile in a meaningful and public way marks a watershed in the history of the environmental movement,” said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“No other sporting institution has influenced American culture as much as baseball and MLB is once again putting that influence to very good use. All professional leagues should follow this important example.”