MLB keeps it green during All-Star week

MLB keeps it green during All-Star week

ST. LOUIS -- Major League Baseball and the Natural Resources Defense Council have teamed up as part of the "Going Green" campaign to ensure that the 80th All-Star Game and All-Star Week 2009 continue Major League Baseball's ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship.

Everything from powering Busch Stadium with wind energy from wind farms in Missouri to making sure the toilet paper in the bathrooms came from 100 percent post-consumer content is being done to help minimize global warming and pollution.

"We try to use the iconic statue of baseball to communicate to fans," said Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Americans love sports, and if we can get them to hear the environmental message when they go to sporting events, that's helpful.

"Most sports are played outdoors. Most baseball games are played outdoors. Global warming is not good for sports. Storms, droughts, floods, they aren't good for baseball."

The electricity used at Busch Stadium during the All-Star events is being offset by wind-energy certificates purchased. An estimated 287 metric tons -- or 633,312 pounds -- of carbon dioxide emissions will be saved from entering the earth's atmosphere because of MLB's decision to purchase the green power.

"If there's one thing we can say about baseball, it's not political," Hershkowitz said. "So to have Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, say, 'Global warming matters to us, and we want to figure out how to reduce our ecological footprint,' that takes the politics out of the debate about global warming."

In addition, MLB Green Teams are present at all All-Star events to collect as many plastic bottles of beer, soda and water as possible. MLB and the St. Louis Cardinals hope to recycle 20 tons of plastic, cardboard and paper generated during the three days of All-Star events, or about 25 percent of the total trash generated.

"The All-Star Game celebration is a celebration of all of our values," said John McHale, executive vice president, administration and chief information officer for Major League Baseball. "As [Commissioner Bud Selig] never stops reminding us, we are a social institution with social obligations. We mostly play the game outside and are tied to the grass and the air and the water, so staying ability is a very important value for us to embrace.

"We play on the earth. That's where our game takes place, so all of those kinds of things are important to us. "

B.J. Rains is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.