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Going Green at the All-Star Game

POSTED UNDER Energy & Conservation

If you’ve ever been in a stadium after a Major League Baseball (MLB) game, you know it can leave a major league mess. What you may not know is that MLB has a sustainability program that takes much of that post-game debris out of the waste stream – and reduces the carbon footprint, as well.

The All-Star Game is the single largest MLB game of the year, and the crowds are enormous – a sellout crowd of more than 42,000 fans packed into San Diego’s Petco Park for the greenest Midsummer Classic yet. Here’s the rundown of what MLB did to take green beyond the outfield.

LED Lighting

2016 marked the first All-Star Game played under energy-efficient LED lights (the same kind we have in Macy’s stores across the United States). Major League Baseball’s Director of Facility Operations Paul Hanlon says the LED lights save the park 250,000 kWh per year – the equivalent of 410,000 miles of driving.  Petco Park is just the latest in a string of major league sports stadiums to install energy-efficient lighting.

Recycling and Composting

Uneaten food was donated to area food banks to combat hunger in the community, and used cooking oil was collected from concessions and kitchens for processing into bio-diesel (the cooking oil recycling is part of a program the San Diego Padres already had in place). Green Teams roamed the park before, during and after the game, helping fans get trash into the right containers for recycling and composting. 

Walking Path

For the third straight year, MLB worked with the host city to create a Walking Path, designed to encourage fans to walk to All-Star events instead of driving (think how that adds to the “miles not driven” totals). This year’s route included the San Diego Convention Center (the site of the All-Star FanFest), Petco Park, major hotels and San Diego mass transportation stations.

Sustainability Through Sports

Beginning with the 2014 All-Star Game in Minneapolis, Major League Baseball partnered with a local university to create a two credit hour Sustainability Through Sports program, with online classes working to make the big event even greener. (The University of Cincinnati offered the program in Macy’s, Inc.’s headquarters city, Cincinnati, when the Queen City hosted the game in 2015).

Energy Offsets

Batting cleanup for All-Star Game sustainability efforts ─ energy and water offsets.  Electricity use was offset through Green-e Certified Renewable Energy Certificates, and water usage was balanced through partnership with freshwater conservation and restoration program Change the Course, as well as the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. Even player travel to and from San Diego was offset.

The American League may have carried the day in the All-Star Game – but the real winner was sustainability.

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