The city of Phoenix has partnered with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Republic Services and Salt River Fields at Talking Stick to host Arizona’s first zero-waste Spring Training event as part of an effort to bring awareness to recycling and composting.
The one-day event challenges fans to recycle or compost the solid and food wastes they generate during the game instead of sending them to the landfill. The idea for the event was generated by Phoenix’s new long-term sustainability initiative called "Reimagine Phoenix," which encourages residents and businesses to view trash as resources.
"Producing less non-recyclable trash means less trips to the landfill and a lower impact on our air and environment," said Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton. "This commitment to produce zero waste at a public event on the scale of a Spring Training game with our hometown D-Backs gets the word out that a lot of what we traditionally consider garbage is actually a usable resource."
The event’s organizers say private-public partnerships are crucial to achieving zero waste at this event, and also will play a major role in helping the city to achieve its 40 percent waste diversion goal by 2020 as part of “Reimagine Phoenix.”
Salt River Fields’ concessions provider, Ovations Food Services, will be using recyclable and/or compostable paper products and utensils throughout the event. Volunteers from Grand Canyon University also will assist fans with sorting out their waste and educating them about sustainability.
“At the Arizona Diamondbacks, we have made an ongoing commitment to sustainability in all aspects of our business, which includes changing fan behaviors in simple ways around the ballpark,” said Derrick Hall, Diamondbacks’ president and CEO.
The event will rely heavily on solid waste collection provider Republic Services, a Phoenix-based company and an industry leader in waste and recycling services, contracted by Salt River Fields. Republic Services will sort out recyclables collected at the end of the game and haul the food waste to a local composting company.
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is owned and operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and is the first MLB Spring Training facility in the US to be built on tribal land. The facility was the first sports venue to achieve LEED Gold certification in the United States.
The zero-waste event, featuring a pre-season game pitting the Diamondbacks against the Seattle Mariners, will take place on Thursday, March 13, at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. The game starts at 1:10 p.m., but pre-game festivities begin at 11:30 a.m.
Major League Baseball increasingly is turning its attention to waste reduction, and the Mariners were one of the first teams on board. For two years running, the Seattle team has worked with BASF to hold “Sustainable Saturdays at Safeco Field,” a program aimed at diverting ballpark waste from the landfill. To date, Mariners fans have already diverted more than 86 percent of game-day waste from local landfills, according to BASF.