Baseball may be one of America's favorite sports, but it has also been one of the least eco-friendly sports for a wide variety of reasons. While many of the things that occur at baseball stadiums to make them less eco-friendly, take place at other sports venues as well, baseball has a packed game schedule, high attendance rates, and offers many of their games at night. Major League Baseball has vowed to start improving their ecological footprint. Some of possible ways that baseball can reduce their footprint are below, and in some cases, they have already been implemented by teams looking to reduce their negative environmental impact already:
- Using carbon offset programs - baseball teams recognize that the energy that they use when hosting a game is excessive. This is particularly true when a game is held at night and the stadium needs to be lit. According to The Scientific American, The Philadelphia Phillies has purchased $250K worth of renewable energy credits.
- Hosting more daytime games - during the summer months, days are longer, and baseball teams can move to a schedule that involves more games in the early evening or during the day when stadium lights are not required. With fewer evening games earlier in the season when it is dark out, baseball teams can greatly reduce their energy consumption.
- Introducing recycling programs - baseball fans are known for enjoying food and drink while at the stadium, and this produces a large amount of waste. Using recyclable products for food - like wrappers for hot dogs and hamburgers - can ensure that less waste goes to local landfills. Of course, this kind of program will rely upon the cooperation of fans who may not take advantage of recycling receptacles provided. However, stadiums can also take on the responsibility of sorting trash to separate recyclables.
- Use of reusable "souvenir" cups - one great way to reduce waste is to offer reusable souvenir drink cups at the stadiums. While many do this already, they do not always offer an ample incentive to encourage baseball fans to use these cups for their drinks in the future. If a discount is offered for all refills in the cups, fans are less likely to pickup additional, wasteful disposable cups during future trips to the concession stands.
- Use of technology to reduce water use - the restrooms at baseball stadiums see a lot of traffic. Newer stadiums that are being built feature different designs that help reduce water waste. For example, they feature hands-free taps that turn off when not in use, and waterless urinals. In 2008, the first baseball stadium certified by the US Green Building Council was the new home of the Washington Nationals'. Now, other stadiums are trying to follow suit.
- Finding a re-purposed use for broken bats - both light weight bats and heavy weight bats can break during a Major League Baseball game. Rather than simply throwing these away after wood has been sourced from trees, and the production process has taken an ecological toll, baseball teams can look into where they can be donated for re-purposing so they can be given a whole new life!