Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

New York Yankees Ready to Lead the League in Sustainability

Business
New York Yankees Ready to Lead the League in Sustainability

Two weeks before the New York Yankees opened their 111th baseball season, as Derek Jeter and his teammates were in Florida finishing up their spring training schedule, the Yankee’s vice president of Stadium Operations, Doug Behar, was out in California, attending a spring training session of his own.

Doug Behar, vice president of stadium operations for the New York Yankees, has become a league leader in environmental sustainability. Photo credit: Natural Resources Defense Council

Instead of exhibition games and batting practice, Doug made the cross country trek to attend an all-day course exploring the intricacies of food scrap composting and more sustainable waste management practices. And while Jeter and company were enjoying the Tampa nightlife, Doug was hanging out with me and several of my NRDC colleagues, as well as trash experts from around the nation, at the annual conference of the Solid Waste Association of North America.

This was not a glamour trip for Doug, an unpretentious gentleman with four World Series rings who is the behind-the-scenes captain of daily operations at the House that Ruth Built. Doug was at the Solid Waste Association conference for good reason—he and the team’s ownership are committed to making the Yankees major league leaders in environmental sustainability.

At the day-long organics collection course, Doug listened carefully to discussions regarding the environmental benefits of keeping food scraps and yard trimmings separate from other refuse so that these organic materials can be used for compost and to produce clean bio-gas. He learned about the equipment used to collect organics most efficiently. And he participated in conversations regarding the best ways to communicate with the public to boost participation in composting programs.

This course was hardly Doug’s first experience with environmental concepts.  For several years, the Yankees have been implementing more sustainable operations at their new stadium.

And the team’s sustainability campaign is already producing some impressive results. 

For example, Yankee Stadium:

  • is located adjacent to numerous subway lines and a new commuter rail connection, which are used by tens of thousands of fans before and after every home date and which help to slash the stadium’s per-game energy footprint;
  • uses high efficiency sports lighting, which cuts electricity costs in half;
  • buys only Energy Star appliances for stadium kitchens, restaurants and concession stands, which save 20 to 40 percent of the energy required for similar products of standard design;
  • obtains 100 percent of its power from U.S. wind farms
  • recycles paper, cardboard, glass, plastics, aluminum, food scraps, grass clippings, cooking oil, batteries, lamps and light bulbs, electronic waste, toner cartridges, carpet and furniture; and
  • donates prepared but unsold food to local food shelters after every game.

Of course, many other teams are also adopting sustainability programs at their own ball parks. Credit for this ongoing cultural shift goes to Major League Baseball Commissioner Allen “Bud” Selig and MLB’s team of senior executives who are implementing the commissioner’s environmental vision in partnership with NRDC’s Greening of Sports team: Allen HershkowitzDarby Hoover and Alice Henley.

Back in California at the solid waste conference, Behar described to me some of the sustainability practices that the Yankees have put in place over the last several years, as well as his hopes for expanding composting operations at the stadium in the months to come. He concluded: “We’re doing a lot, but we’ve still got work to do!”

Of course, that’s true. Like businesses everywhere, the Yankees sustainability record isn’t perfect.

But having having heard, first-hand, his commitment to make Yankee Stadium among the greenest in all professional sports, I can tell you this: even with the 2014 baseball season only several weeks old, Yankee VP Doug Behar is already a winner.

How is your favorite sports team doing on the sustainability front?  Check out NRDC’s Sports Greening Project.

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

Major League Baseball Announces Green Glove Award Winner

How One NFL Team Will Turn Food Waste Into Renewable Energy

——–

A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A plastic bag caught in a tree in New Jersey's Palisades Park. James Leynse / Stone / Getty Images

New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to reporters during her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on Sept. 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill to boost clean energy while phasing out the use of coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are known pollutants and contribute to the climate crisis, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington comforts Marsha Maus, 75, whose home was destroyed during California's deadly 2018 wildfires, on March 11, 2019 in Agoura Hills, California. Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

By Governor Jay Inslee

Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.

In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.

Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.

Read More Show Less
Four more years will be enough to cement in place Trump's anti-environmental policies and to make sure it's too late to really change course. Enrique Meseguer / Pixabay

By Bill McKibben

To understand the planetary importance of this autumn's presidential election, check the calendar. Voting ends on November 3—and by a fluke of timing, on the morning of November 4 the United States is scheduled to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

President Trump announced that we would abrogate our Paris commitments during a Rose Garden speech in 2017. But under the terms of the accords, it takes three years to formalize the withdrawal. So on Election Day it won't be just Americans watching: The people of the world will see whether the country that has poured more carbon into the atmosphere than any other over the course of history will become the only country that refuses to cooperate in the one international effort to do something about the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch