Company: Seattle Mariners
Business Sector: Recreational Facilities
Published: June 2007
Safeco Field is one of the first ballparks in the Country to get serious about going green. For example, Oakland and Seattle are the only ballparks with food waste recycling programs. Beyond “low hanging fruit” such as recycling, the Mariners are working hard to save resources by changing behaviors to save energy and reduce SOV commuting. The Mariners are likely the first ballpark to examine their carbon footprint. These steps not only result in cost savings, but give the Mariners a competitive edge in the ballpark industry. “Paying attention to how we operate Safeco Field is not only good for our bottom line, but good for the environment and our fans,” says Scott Jenkins, VP of Ballpark Operations.
Recycling Food Waste
The Mariners are currently collecting food and other compostable wastes from inside concession and kitchen areas. The Mariners are recycling almost 20% of their waste through the food and yard waste composting collection program. Mariners Director of Engineering and Maintenance, Terry Coggins comments on the next food waste opportunity: “Our greatest potential for capturing larger percentages will come when we are able to pick up "post-consumer" food waste from the seating bowls and other public areas. We are making small steps in this direction including sourcing biodegradable containers for the food that is sold in the ballpark. We hope to have some of this accomplished by the end of the 2007 ball season.”
The Mariners’ recycling success does not end with food and yard waste. Paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and metal are also recycled at Safeco Field.
The Mariners have recycled paper and cardboard since 2000. Based on available data, an average of 145 tons are collected for recycling each year.
In partnership with Fibres International, the Mariners recycle an average of 27 tons of plastic bottles each year. This program has been in place since 2003 and is invigorated by Captain Plastic’s visit to each home game. He encourages all fans to recycle their plastic bottles while at the game.
For the 2007 game season, the Mariners began recycling glass and metal food containers. Between the glass wine and beer bottles used for serving alcohol in suites and the large tin cans disposed of in the kitchens, the Mariners are greatly benefiting from this program.
The Mariners have dramatically reduced their natural gas (36%) and electric (18%) use primarily by making the following operational adjustments to reduce energy consumption. Savings in just 7 months have amounted to $180,000.
Motivated by Seattle’s Climate Partnership, the Mariners recently decided to undertake a carbon inventory of their operations. The inventory is expected to be finished by the end of the 2007 game season. The results of this project will help the Mariners identify opportunities for them to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide their operations and fans emit into the atmosphere each year. Transportation and energy consumption are likely to come up as big carbon contributors. “Understanding our carbon footprint is key to operating more efficiently and taking steps to reduce our impact on the environment,” says Jenkins.
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