St. Louis Cardinals Playing A “Greener Game” At Busch Stadium

By Craig Jung

Healthy Planet Green Living Editor


The St. Louis Cardinals “4 A Greener Game” program began in the summer of 2008 with taking the first steps of recycling at the games.  Volunteers wearing their neon green vests would peruse the isles looking for items to be recycled.  Fans began to catch on and starting helping out, putting more of the recyclables in the recycling containers through out the stadium.  The program inspired other greening systems to be developed within Busch Stadium.  From there the program has developed into a premiere Major League Sports Greening program in the country.  The St. Louis Cardinals have focused their greening efforts in Energy, Solid Waste Management, and Green Purchasing all contributing to the success of the “4 a Greener Game” Program.

Through out the season volunteers collect recycling from the fans during the games between innings.  Over 550 recycling containers have been added through out the stadium to help with the collection from the fans. After the game the cleaning staff separates the recycling from the trash when they clean the stadium seating area.  All the recycling is taken down to two compactors in the service area of Busch Stadium, one compactor for comingled containers and one is for cardboard and paper.  The product is then distributed to the QRS Recycling (www.qrsrecycling.com) sort center where it is processed and sent to be re-manufactured into other products.  The cardboard compactor was funded by the Solid Waste Management District Grant (www.swmd.net) in 2009.  Currently the program has diverted over 630 tons since it inception.

For the 2009 Major League Baseball All- Star Game and surrounding week the Cardinals worked in conjunction with Major League Baseball and the National Resources Defense Council (www.nrdc.org) to put on, to date the greenest All-Star Game in history.  Energy was powered by Green e-certified renewable energy supplied by AmerenUE Pure Power (www.ameren.com/purepower), 20 tons of recyclables were diverted from the landfill, and the carpet used in the parade was 100% recycled fiber content and recycled after its use.

In 2010 the St. Louis Cardinals hosted the First Annual Green week at Busch Stadium.  Events hosted included Bike to Busch, e-cycling drive and collection of used sporting equipment for the Redbird Rookies Program.  The e-cycling drive over 1500 cars came through and the drive collected over 158 tons of recyclables.

The St. Louis Cardinals, Delaware North Sportservice, StLouisGreen.com, and Operation Food Search all recently teamed up for the 2010 season to distribute the remaining food from game day preparations to feed people at The Bridge.  The total amount of food donated to the Bridge to date is over 14,000lbs!  www.bridgestl.org

On June 22, 2010 the St. Louis Cardinals received the Missouri Waste Control Coalition (MWCC) Award in Environmental Stewardship.  The MWCC recognizes outstanding achievements in the waste management industry each year. www.mowastecoalition.org )

Over the last couple of years a concentrated effort to reduce the energy consumption has been set forth.  In 2009 compact fluorescents lamps and occupancy sensors were installed.  A lighting management system was improved.  This isn’t the high tech kind, this is the kind that you see what lights need to be on or off for optimal usage, simple task, mostly taken for granted, the Cardinals hit a home run with this one.  Those efforts reduced the energy costs by 15.2% just over $300,000 in savings.  Currently the Cardinals are investigating alternative energy such as wind and solar.

The St. Louis Cardinals have included green purchasing as part of their greening efforts.   They looked at existing vendors which had green product plans in place and worked with ones that were developing theirs.  Companies like Delaware North Corporation Sportservice (www.delawarenorth.com) have been very instrumental in getting plans in place and implemented.

Volunteering can be a lot of fun at Busch and you get to see a game for free.  If you would like to be a part of the “4 a Greener Game” Team and see a game for free contact Ashly Moore at amoore@cardinals.com or call 314-345-9485.    All friendly volunteers from local groups, schools, sports teams or individuals that want to help out, sign up and come on down.  The Cardinals really appreciate the help!

Looking forward, the St. Louis Cardinals Green Team, Joe Abernathy, Hosei Maruyama, Ashly Moore and Rick Frahm, are truly inspired to continue the great efforts of the organization in making the team one of the Greenest in professional sports.