Friday, April 22, 2011

Red Sox Support Earth Day, Every Day, But Can They Do More?

Photo credit
Over the past few years the Red Sox have made significant strides in becoming a more environmentally-friendly ballpark.

This page on their website outlines their "Go Green" initiatives:

I've highlighted one of these initiatives below, as well as added thoughts on what  I'd like to see from America's Most Beloved Ballpark.

Poland Spring Green Team
In 2008 Poland Springs solicited volunteers from local organizations and schools to walk around the park during the game and collect recyclable materials. According to the website, these teams collectively gathered 25 tons of plastics during the 2008 season. That number is absolutely mind-blowing. 25 tons of plastic gathered in just Fenway Park alone.

The Livestrong website estimates in 2008 the US used 14 million tons of plastic, and that recycling a ton of plastic saves about 30 cubic yards of space in landfills. So that means the Red Sox did their part by saving 750 cubic yards of space from Boston-area landfills. Seems admirable, right?

But here's the thing. I don't recall seeing Green Team members collecting plastic over the past couple of seasons. Did they only do this in 2008? If so, why haven't they continued? Since they are asking for volunteers I don't see that it costs the team much money (unless they sponsor the Tshirts the volunteers wear? Even so, they are effectively paying a ridiculously low sum of money to help have the park cleaned up).

Then comes an even bigger the Red Sox need to sponsor Poland Springs and bottled water usage? I'll admit I'm a bit of a hypocrite. I do purchase bottled water from time to time and I also bring my own sealed bottle of water to every Sox game I go to (what is the price of water up to in the park now, $4.00 or something?!). However, if I were allowed to bring in an empty reusable water bottle and fill it with filtered water I'd do just that instead.

Jack Johnson did something similar during his 2010 To The Sea concert tour
Jack and his crew reduced the use of single use plastic bottles on tour and backstage. All water came straight from the tap, filtered with Brita’s filtration systems and hydration stations. 
As a result, the band, crew and concert-goers saved over 55,000 single use water bottles from being consumed and thus ending up in the wastestream.Concertgoers were able to fill up their own reusable water bottles for free at All At Once Water Stations located throughout each concert venue
The Red Sox could partner with All At Once, or a similar organization to effectively reduce plastic use at Fenway Park.

I know the push-back is going to be the fact the Red Sox will lose money by doing this. After all, they are a business ::rolls eyes:: but there are ways to work around that as well.

  • Red Sox could sell their own branded reusable water bottles, earning money
  • It would be free for fans to fill the Red Sox branded water bottles at filtration stations
  • Fans bringing in their own empty reusable water bottles would have to pay $1 to use the filtration station -- cheaper than buying a bottle of water, thus encouraging participation but still earning the organization some money
What do you think? What can the Red Sox do to reduce plastic water waste at Fenway Park? 

1 comment:

Sherwood said...

Bruegger's Bagels sell a commuter mug for $100-200 that gets you free coffee refills for a year.

Might be a good tactic to start this with season ticket holders. Then everyone else will be like, "cool I want one" and they could sell 1-game-only bottles to them.