29 September 2011

Baseball team hits composting home run

BASF's Ecovio® bags to be used as liners at all food stands and kitchens at Safeco Field

Major League Baseball’s Seattle Mariners have partnered with chemical giants BASF to help cut their waste sent to landfill by using compostable bioplastic bags. The new bags are made with BASF’s Ecovio® bioplastic. They are completely compostable and partially made using renewable raw materials. The bags will be used as liners at all food stands and kitchens at Safeco Field, the home of The Seattle Mariners.

The move was taken because outlets at Safeco Field already serve food on compostable paper trays with compostable utensils and napkins. They also serve drinks in compostable cups with compostable straws.

By using compostable bags they can mix food and packaging waste together, making collection “cleaner, hygienic and more efficient”, say the baseball club. The bags and their contents can then be sent for composting or potentially anaerobic digestion.

The Mariners now compost or recycle around 80 per cent of the waste generated from games and plan to send zero waste to landfill in the future.

“The Mariners are leading the way for stadium Zero Waste to Landfill programs, and BASF is proud to support these programs. The use of compostable bags made with our Ecovio can continue to help the Mariners hit a recycling homerun,” said Keith Edwards, BASF Business Manager for Biodegradable Plastics in North America.

Recycling efforts at Safeco Field already divert an estimated 900,000 pounds of peanut shells, leftover food, compostable service ware and grass clippings from landfill each season. In addition, the team have reduced consumption of natural gas by 60 per cent, electricity by 30 per cent and water by 15 per cent since 2006.

These conservation efforts save the equivalent of 5.1 million pounds of CO2, and are equal to having planted 703 acres of trees and taken 344 cars off the road, say the baseball club.

The change has required major capital investment but the Mariners reveal it will save an estimated $500,000 a year in utilities costs and are committed to continuing these efforts because they make good business sense.

Source: National Center for Biorenewable Energy, Fuels and Materials (NNFCC), 2011-09-29.

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