Giants Hit Recycling Out of the Ballpark

(October 7, 2010)

The San Francisco Giants have hit recycling rates out of the ballpark, achieving 75 percent recycling in 2009, up from 57 percent the year before, according to recently completed audits. Using a comprehensive program that reaches from the luxury suites all the way to the loading dock, AT&T Park diverted 1750 tons, or 3.5 million pounds of waste from landfill.

"The Giants are the best in the west, and just might be the best recyclers in all of baseball," said SF Environment Director Melanie Nutter. "This level of recycling is incredibly high for a ballpark and may even be the highest in the country for this type of facility. We're very proud of our team all around."

To make recycling and composting easy for fans, AT&T Park ensures that its hundred-plus trash cans are accompanied by recycling and composting bins. In addition to blue, green, and black containers for the public, staff set up collection systems in the facility's kitchens. Centerplate and Bon Appètit concessionaires use compostable and recyclable food service ware throughout the park.

Randy Gomez, Director of Maintenance, was instrumental in the program's success. Custodial crews comb the stands when the game is over to recover as much recyclable and compostable material as possible, and loading docks are color-coded to facilitate sorting.

Staff from Environment Now, a green jobs training program funded by federal stimulus dollars, helped monitor the waste stations during games so patrons would understand what items go in which bins.

"The Giants are champions at baseball and in pursuing zero waste," said Jack Macy, Commercial Zero Waste coordinator for SF Environment. "The City and Recology have worked closely with AT&T Park for several years to set up and improve their systems. They have shown tremendous leadership and dedication to sustainability in their operations, and have managed to save tens of thousands of dollars in the process."

New statistics show the city of San Francisco is diverting 77 percent of all discards from going to the landfill, up from the previous 72 percent. This recycling rate is the highest of any city in the United States. Candlestick Park, home of the San Francisco 49ers, also achieved an incredibly high waste diversion rate in 2009, scoring an 81 percent.