Arenas nationwide join the green movement

Article by: Christian Petruzzi

Green Sports Places

In the 21st century, green isn’t just a color anymore. For many, it’s a way of life. It has come to symbolize Earth-friendly movements like recycling campaigns across the country and the world. However, as popular as “green” practices have become, it may come as a surprise to some that sports arenas are now shifting toward being environmentally friendly as well.

Last April, Turner Field, the home of the Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves, started a program called “Give it Back,” in which the team, in conjunction with Coca-Cola, distributed more than 250 recycling bins stamped with that slogan. According to, the stadium also changed their official staff uniforms, which are worn by ushers, ticket takers and others, to a red shirt made from recycled bottles. Prior to every home game this past season, the Braves aired a short video on the lifecycle of a 20-ounce Coke bottle.

However, Turner Field isn’t the only Atlanta sports venue to receive recognition. Philips Arena, home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers, was named a green building after meeting the standards maintained by the U.S. Green Building Council under their LEED guidelines.

LEED ratings are becoming something to brag about. The Washington Nationals added $2 million to the $700 million price tag for their new ballpark just to be the first sports venue in the country to receive the rating. According to the Environmental News Service, the stadium features an in-house recycling center and a wastewater system which was designed to filter out peanut shells and pieces of hot dogs, common bits of trash at a baseball stadium.

Citi Field, the new home of the New York Mets, just opened last spring and was built by using 95 percent recycled steel. According to the New York Sports Scene blog, it also features energy-efficient field lighting, waterless urinals, and a green roof.

The NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles used their team colors (green and white) and logo to start a campaign entitled, “Go Green,” with banners and signs with slogans like “Believe in Green,” which can be seen all over the city. According to the team’s official website, the program was started in 2003, and all of the Eagles’ facilities are powered by clean energy and use corn-plastic dishes and utensils. To attract their male fans, the team’s cheerleaders put out a calendar with each cheerleader wearing a recycled piece of clothing with an explanation at the bottom. The calendar was, of course, printed on recycled paper.

According to the Vancouver Sun, this year’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, will feature a speed-skating arena with a roof made from a wood harvested from the site of a pine-beetle infestation.

However, in a shining example of “going green,” one stadium itself is being considered for recycling and reuse. According to, Portland’s Memorial Coliseum, which was slated to be demolished, is now being evaluated by the city’s Development Commission for reuse as a possible public market or community center.