Most Viewed Stories
Marysville Gold Sox cutting waste
At Bat on Recycling
Baseball may be as red, white and blue as America gets, but the Marysville Gold Sox is pushing to add a touch of green to the country’s favorite pastime.
The 2011 season is continuing a partnership that began last year with Recology Yuba-Sutter to try to reduce ballpark waste. Known as the “Waste Zero Zone,” the ballpark has amped up recycling bins, uses its announcer to remind fans about correct disposal and eliminated unnecessary plastic.
As a result of the waste reduction goals, the park has saved money, both in trash expenses and not needing as many products, said marketing promotions director Michael Vaughn. Any savings can go back into the game.
“It’s good for the environment, it cuts down on our costs, it cuts down on our carbon footprint,” Vaughn said. “It just makes us look better in the community. If they see we try to recycle, maybe we’ll bring a little more business because of that.”
Blue toters are stationed around the park, where fans who have quenched their thirst can recycle empty cups, bottles and cans. Last year the club eliminated soda straws and lids and converted nearly all food and beverage containers to recyclable materials like paper and plastic, although some Styrofoam is still in use.
Inning by inning, gray trash toters and blue recycle boxes start to fill. Soggy fries, greasy napkins and Styrofoam shaved ice cups are in one, and empty water bottles, pizza boxes and plastic beer cups are in the other – although some incorrect mixing inevitably takes place.
“Everyone is trying to reduce, reuse, recycle,” said Olivehurst resident Rachel Roberts. “I think it’s a great idea they are trying to cut back.”
She attends nearly every game and has noticed the increase in green efforts but one easily changed element continues to frustrate her and her ballpark companions – that when they brings their own cups for drinks, they have to get them in a paper cup first, which goes directly in the trash.
It’d be better if the ballpark would put drinks directly in reusable cups, and even better if they offered a discount, Roberts said. The Gold Sox could even create its own reusable cup merchandise, which would be great marketing and generate a little profit.
“They claim to be zero waste,” said Olivehurst resident Tosha LeVally. “If people brought their own glasses and are able to fill them up, it’d be better.”
Yuba City resident Tia Howell, 14, did not even notice that her and her friends’ sodas lacked straws and lids.
“I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” she said.
“I don’t ever use straws or lids because I think they’re a waste,” added her friend Harrison Bloomfield, 15.
The teens said anything the Gold Sox could do to reduce waste is a winning concept, especially since concessions generate so much trash.
“This place needs to be a little cleaner – the whole world does,” said Denisse Lopez, 13.
The teens offered more ideas for greening up the ball park, including more mentions of the Waste Zero goal by announcers and posting signs around the park stating the goal. But whether game-goers opt in is another story.
“It depends on if the people are dedicated to a green environment, then it can be successful,” Howell said.
Emma Wilkinson attends every Gold Sox game to watch her boyfriend Brock Neil play first base, and said she thinks the park’s zero waste goal is admirable. She usually hands her trash and recycling to the Garbage Gremlins and Recycle Rascals – the little kids who earn Gold Sox Bucks for picking up the stadium before game’s end.
“I go to Chico State so environmental impact is a big topic,” she said. “I think it’s good we are trying to instill it in younger generations.
Her only idea for improvement was to switch to plant-based cups and containers, instead of plastic and Styrofoam.
According to the Gold Sox, the park’s first season of its Waste Zero zone was a success, and the park surpassed its goal for a 50 percent reduction of waste, although that is not reflected in numbers from Recology.
Between May and August 2010, the ballpark generated 12,080 pounds of refuse, compared to 10,920 pounds the previous year and 8,100 pounds in 2008.
Recycling of plastic bottles has risen each year, from 3,087 pounds in 2008, 9,081 pounds in 2009 and 9,594 pounds last season.
Recycling coordinator Jackie Sillman said the park also does grass composting that goes toward the 50 percent waste reduction goal and additional events at the park last year boosted more food-type refuse. She calls the partnership between Recology and the Gold Sox a win-win situation as it has reduced waste and helped spread the Waste Zero message within the community.
CONTACT reporter Ashley Gebb at 749-4783.