Sports teams in Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, and Vancouver, B.C. have teamed up to form the Green Sports Alliance (with more teams already wanting to get involved), dedicated towards “real progress toward reducing their environmental impact”. Plans include reducing energy costs by switching from incandescent to LED lights, switching urinals to low-flow models, more thoughtful decisions on away-game traveling, and free venue parking for carpools.
None of this would have been terribly newsworthy, at least outside of Time, Newsweek or Fred’s Weekly Recycling Newsletter if it weren’t for Compost Giveaway nights.
Yes, as the articles say, it’s no Ichiro bobblehead, but hey, freebies are freebies, right?
First, there’s the question of whether fans will receive their compost on the way in or out of the stadium, and what they might do with the compost should they disagree with the referee’s call or with other fans.
Then there’s looking at what the compost is made of. Food waste? Check. Packaging material? Um, check. Paper and “degradable corn product” cups and utensils? Erk, check. True enough though, the compost is made by Cedar Grove Composting, whose facilities are designed to heat up the materials to where even the paper and “biodegradable” utensils will break down. This compost is then sold throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Should I even get started on the plastic packaging it will take for all those little bags?
Still, it’s an interesting promotional tool. It’s a way to demonstrate some of the greener steps that franchise owners & executives are taking, and it’s a way to start conversations with the public (my favorite statistic: “during the first six games of the season, the Safeco Field recycling rate has jumped from 38% last year to 75.9% so far this season”*). It’s also a way to show that being green isn’t just for those Left-Wing Liberal Hippie Tree Huggers. You tobacco-spitting, beer-drinking, foam-finger-wearing fans are welcome to join the environmental agenda too! On April 21, the second annual Zero Waste Game Day, Cedar Grove Composting and Seattle City Light will staff tables in various locations in the stadium to share information with fans about composting, recycling and energy conservation.
The only date I can find for sure for the Compost Giveaway is the Zero Waste game on April 21st, but on the official Seattle Mariners website it looks like there will be green-related goings-on throughout the season.
For folks wanting to get more involved in sports-related environmental issues – you might want to be part of the Green Sports Summit over August 1-3, 2011 at the World Trade Center in Portland, OR.
Hey, if you go, let me know what you think of the compost, eh?
The Seattle Times
*Seattle Mariners official site
Cedar Grove Composting
Green Sports Alliance