Indians Prioritize Sustainbility Efforts as Earth Day Approaches

As Earth Day approaches this Saturday, the American League Champion Cleveland Indians continue to prioritize their significant environmental efforts at Progressive Field, having become sustainability trailblazers in the Cleveland community and in Major League Baseball. A variety of systems and innovations have been implemented to reduce the environmental impact of activities at Progressive Field.

In 2016, these sustainability efforts were recognized by GreenSportsBlog, who named the Indians "Best Team On-Field/Greenest Team Off-Field."

"The team operates with a long-term outlook toward sustainability and a sense of responsibility to contribute toward the livelihood, health and well-being for people throughout the region," said owner Paul Dolan, "The Cleveland Indians are committed to achieving these goals by partnering with regional stakeholders to lower the environmental impact of operations, contribute toward the economic vitality of the region as explore ways that strengthen social engagement and inclusion in the community."

The Indians recently collaborated with Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management on a report to quantify sustainability efforts at Progressive Field. MBA students in the Sustainable Value and Social Entrepreneurship Practicum conducted interviews with key stakeholders who provide services to the Indians to build the sustainability report.


In 2016, the Indians recycled 230 tons of waste generated at the ballpark and diverted over 46% of total waste from area landfills. The impact of that recycling equates to saving:

· 1,616 trees

· 679,156 gallons of water

· 407,000 kWh of energy

· 39,779 gallons of fuel

To aid in recycling efforts, a Green Team was created by the Indians. The team is composed of local volunteers who promote Indians recycling and composting practices to fans during select games. They also provide information about how fans can participate in sustainability practices at the ballpark and at home.

Organic waste

In partnership with Quasar Corporation and Delaware North, the Indians utilize Grind2Engergy - an anaerobic digestion system for food waste management. Last season, the Indians composted 66 tons of food waste -- a 35% increase from 2015.

Delaware North also utilizes a state-of-the-art Filta Fry fryer oil conversion process, recycles excess glass bottles and has donated 2,500 pounds of surplus food to the Ed Keating Centers through the Cleveland Food Bank.


Large amounts of organic waste are also used in several garden beds in the ballpark. These garden beds - located near the Right Field Gate and in the players' lot - provide a variety of fresh, organic vegetables used in meals created by the home clubhouse chef; any excess vegetables are donated to the Cleveland Food Bank. The Green Corps of the Cleveland Botanical Gardens help to maintain and grow the gardens as part of a community initiate to encourage health and fitness among youth.

During the offseason, 456 LEDS lights were installed at Progressive Field. The switch to LED from metal halide lights is expected to reduce electricity usage by 70% or 700,000 kilowatt hours. LED lights are also considered to be a safer, mercury-free source of lighting. In addition to on field lighting, the Indians plan to reduce lighting usage throughout the building's administrative offices.

Solar energy

Since becoming the first ballpark in the American League to install solar technology in 2007, the 42 solar panels continue to generate clean energy and have supplied over 127,500 kilowatt hours of energy. That is enough energy to power 400 televisions that operate throughout the ballpark.

By using solar panels for nine years, the Indians have been able to reduce their carbon impact by 88 metric tons. That amount is equivalent to:

· 9,893 gallons of gasoline consumed

· 12.1 homes electricity use for one year

Water conservation

In an effort to conserve clean water, the Indians have implemented a plan to efficiently manage water consumption. Over the past eight years, water consumption at Progressive Field has decreased by over 23%.

Reclaimed materials

The Indians used Cleveland-based Rustbelt Reclamation to supply salvaged materials for The Corner. The space was constructed with repurposed materials from the old Columbus Street Bridge in the Flats and from the Taylor & Boggis Foundry, formally located on East 71st Street.