Baseball fans know the Gold Glove Award, given annually to the top fielder at each position in each league. But great catches aren’t the only great plays Major League Baseball is honoring these days – snaring recyclables has also become a big deal at the ballparks, and nobody does it better than the San Francisco Giants.
The Giants and their home stadium, AT&T Park, have one the Green Glove Award. Again.
As is the case with a lot of things baseball, this award is based purely on the numbers. According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, which has helped MLB develop its sustainability program, the Green Glove winner is determined using “self-reported data that the Clubs input into MLB GreenTracks and/or report to the MLB Sustainable Operations Committee each year.”
The Giants, NRDC said, kept 86 percent of their waste from going into landfills.
The Giants have taken the award six years in row now, which while remarkable, fits with an organization that has long been a leader in sustainability in big-time sports. In 2010, their home, AT&T Park, became the first MLB stadium to gain LEED Silver certification for existing buildings. Things like a 123-kilowatt solar array, automatic lighting controls and water conservation measures helped the team get that certification. And don’t forget the edible garden.
It’s interesting to note, too, that when the LEED certification was announced, the Giants were touting that they’d diverted 67 percent of their waste from landfills (and the year before, they won the award with a 57 percent diversion rate). Clearly they’ve continued to step up their game.
In a case study of the Giants and AT&T done by the NRDC, Jorge Costa, the team’s longtime senior vice president of ballpark operations, explained that a key to their success with recycling is taking a hands-on approach. “We process all waste at the end of the game by hand as it comes through the loading dock,” Costa said. “Even though it’s costly and a dirty job, we get our money back and definitely see dividends.”