Pictured: A spring training game at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale.
Photo courtesy of Salt River Fields
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MLB, ASU launch spring training sustainability initiative at all 10 Cactus League ballparks

03/21/18

PEORIA – Major League Baseball (MLB) and Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability (ASU) announced a groundbreaking partnership with Camping World to launch and initiative that will see the two organizations undertaking sustainability efforts during parts of the 2018 Spring Training Cactus League schedule.

“This is a perfect partnership for ASU’s School of Sustainability,” said Christopher Boone, Dean of the School of Sustainability, ASU.

Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Spring Training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies, will be the focus site of the “Recycle Rally” initiative that will test and implement zero waste strategies with the overarching goals of reducing landfill impact, increasing operational efficiencies and improving the fan experience across all Cactus League ballparks.

“Salt River Fields is proud to partner with ASU and MLB on a zero-waste initiative, as taking care of the land we are on is extremely important to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Colorado Rockies and the Salt River Community," said Dave Dunne, general manager of Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Salt River Fields is expected to host nearly 300,000 fans over the course of the 2018 Spring Training presented by Camping World.

While Salt River Fields will be the initial focus of the initiative, MLB and ASU will work with individual Clubs to incorporate a snapshot-level analysis for all Cactus League ballparks in 2018. The groups will visit each of the 10 Cactus League ballparks at least once during Spring Training for high-level analysis, documentation of current waste systems, and recommending opportunities for improvement.

As part of the initiative, a group of eleven ASU undergraduate and graduate students will analyze the waste stream and operations at Salt River Fields to help the venue become more environmentally friendly. ASU will then determine how the D-backs and Rockies can minimize, and most effectively manage, waste, including adopting effective waste diversion practices at the ballpark through recycling, reusing and composting.

Additionally, the partnership will engage fans during Spring Training games at Salt River Fields through a series of interactive and fun-focused activities that educate about the challenges and impacts of waste.

“We want do our part to ensure that future generations of D-backs fans can appreciate the beautiful Arizona landscape and will continue to focus on improving sustainability efforts throughout Spring Training and all season long at Chase Field,” said Arizona Diamondbacks President & CEO Derrick Hall.

To further environmental efforts in Arizona this Spring Training, MLB will also work with Change the Course, a national freshwater restoration campaign, to offset 100 percent of water usage in the Cactus League this year by rehabilitating endangered watersheds and help to restore five million gallons of freshwater in critically depleted rivers and streams across Arizona. Presently, the entire state of Arizona is experiencing moderate drought conditions with about half the state being in the severe drought category, while parts of southeastern and east-central Arizona are in the extreme drought category.

“One of our core purposes is to use our expertise and innovation to create meaningful change in our community – and ultimately, nationally and globally too,” said Dean Boone. “We are thrilled to be able to let our faculty and students apply their classroom knowledge in a real-world setting and help the Cactus League aim for the ambitious goal of zero waste.”