By Gretchen Pahia
Play ball! Spring Training season is here, a time when baseball fans near and far gather within Arizona’s 10 Cactus League ballparks to watch teams perfect their games before the real season begins. But Spring Training isn’t just about the peanuts, hotdogs and foul balls.
For several ballparks and organizations around the Valley, it is making sure our fields and stadiums are around for generations to come.
Scottsdale Stadium has hit a homerun with its recycling initiative. The stadium first started recycling glass beer bottles back in 2008, collecting about 7,000 pounds that first year. Now the facility is recycling 60,000-80,000 pounds of mixed recyclables annually, diverting 55-60 percent of waste from the landfill. The simplest change made, according to stadium supervisor Jeff Cesaretti, was to first collect recyclables from around the stadium before going back for trash. They discovered that most of the “waste” is recyclable.
The Scottsdale Stadium has also been working within The Charros Lodge onsite to serve food from local favorites such as Cold Beer & Cheeseburgers, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Postino and more to those seated in that area. Named after the Scottsdale Charros, which has worked to promote Spring Training in Scottsdale for more than 50 years, the lodge is just one of the ways the organization raises funds for its year-round support of the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD). The stadium is also in the process of converting exterior lighting to LEDs, and is currently master planning with the San Francisco Giants – dubbed the “greenest team in professional sports” – on what the stadium will look like 20 years from now in terms of green practices and energy efficiency.
In the West Valley, the Peoria Sports Complex is looking at ways to make life better for ballplayers and guests. The professional baseball facility is one of the only Cactus League teams that has earned LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres clubhouses also work on energy conservation, with a combined annual water savings of 322,700 gallons and an electricity savings of more than one million kWh. As the first two-team Spring Training facility in the nation, both the Seattle Mariners and the San Diego Padres were in friendly competition with each other to “green” their respective clubhouse renovations. Peoria Sports Complex also recently installed an LED scoreboard, the largest high definition scoreboard in the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues. It also uses 50 percent less power than the previous display.
The hometown Arizona Diamondbacks are also working to conserve and help keep the planet around for future generations. Salt River Fields at Talking Stick received LEED Gold Certification, with sustainable elements such as using native vegetation; minimizing stormwater runoff; and using grass-covered parking lots rather than asphalt, which can double as community fields when not in use. The D-backs also partnered with Waste Management and added 200 new recycling/waste receptacles throughout the ballpark just before the 2017 season. Also added this season: 50 high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryers in the concourse restrooms to help reduce paper waste. The sustainability also transfers over to the regular season at Chase Field. The D-backs and Levy Restaurants donated more than six tons of food to Church on the Street, which equals more than 10,000 meals for people in the community.
The next time you head out to the ballgame, whether for Spring Training at one of the Valley’s many ballparks or at Chase Field during the regular season, be sure to take stock of all the efforts being made to reduce, reuse and recycle, and help do your part.
Gretchen Pahia has 15 years experience in both media and public relations and is an award-winning television news producer in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Portland. Gretchen is a native to Arizona, born and raised in Phoenix, and a graduate of Northern Arizona University. She lives in the Phoenix metro area with her husband, their two children and their dog.
Find more active lifestyle articles at greenlivingaz.com/activelifestyle