Baseball Teams Make a Play for Less Waste

It’s summertime, the kids are out of school, and families are packing up and heading to the ballpark for a baseball game.

When you get to the game, it’s pretty much eating time. Sure, watching batters hit and pitchers pitch may be fun, but, come on, the little ones love going because they’re eating a hot dog, ice cream, or cotton candy. Heck, it’s tempting to get even more food during the seventh-inning stretch while hearing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”, including this beauty from the lyrics: “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack.” 

tray of ballpark food -- hotdog, chips, soft drink

But, recently, after watching a game with the family, I noticed something: trash underneath the seats—a lot of it.

So, how much garbage is generated during a baseball game? Obviously, it depends on how many fans attend. But in 2010, the Los Angeles Daily News reported that 3.11 tons of trash were produced during a home game at Dodger Stadium. That’s quite a bit going to the landfill.

Some major league and minor league teams are trying to change that. Those teams have created environmentally focused programs to promote recycling and composting, as well as overall sustainability. As part of the San Francisco Giants’ “Green Initiative,” the organization recycles or composts items like cans, bottles, plastic cups, cardboard, paper, wood pallets, electronic components, light bulbs, batteries, cooking grease, food waste, and grass clippings. The Giants claim 95.08 percent of the waste at their ballpark in 2016 was diverted from the landfill through their recycling and composting program.

The San Diego Padres also have a recycling and waste diversion program. They have been promoting digital ticketing instead of paper tickets to fans while serving ballpark food with service trays and packaging made of recycled materials and biodegradable materials. Plastic drinking straws have also been replaced with paper straws.

These programs only work if fans are conscientious about it. In other words, don’t just throw trash underneath the seats, but make an effort to find a garbage, recycling, or compost bin and dump it there. You can even collect your peanut shells and compost them yourself. (Here’s a recent blog about how to start composting.)

We can all have fun watching the game, eating Cracker Jack and being mindful of our environment at the same time. That’s a home run in my scorebook. 

— Syd Fong
Posted on Jun 20, 2019

Summary: Recently, after attending a baseball game with the family, I noticed something: trash underneath the seats—a lot of it.