To assist sports facilities in creating healthier, safer environments for their fans, athletes and staff, the Green Sports Alliance has released its “Greener Cleaning Playbook.” The Playbook provides cost-effective strategies for creating a successful greener cleaning program, and offers comprehensive guidance on how to select cleaning products and services that are environmentally safe.
Each year, the commercial and institutional cleaning industry uses six billion pounds of chemicals, more than four billion pounds of sanitary paper products, and one billion pounds of plastic liners for waste receptacles. Greener cleaning initiatives can improve sports facilities’ operational efficiency and savings by helping them use resources more effectively and safely. These strategies include using cleaning processes that reduce energy and water use, decreasing the number of cleaning products, and switching to high-efficiency cleaning equipment and ecologically preferable sanitary paper products.
“Our goal is to improve the health and environmental sustainability of the places where we play sports,” said Stephen Ashkin, Playbook author, executive director of the Green Cleaning Network and member of the Green Sports Alliance Board of Directors. “We heard from our members that they want to pursue greener cleaning but found the process daunting because of the variety of products, equipment and processes that are used. This Playbook provides a one-stop resource that helps venues easily plan and implement a greener cleaning program.”
The Playbook identifies “best practices” that sports facilities have leveraged to implement stronger programs, including staff training. Staff training includes educating facility staff on the effectiveness of greener products which, in many cases, can clean better than traditional, more toxic ones. Other better practices
include using greener cleaning as a cost reduction strategy, as many greener products are less expensive than their traditional counterparts, and exploring new technologies that can reduce the need for cleaning chemicals altogether.
“A core focus in creating meaningful change across the global sports industry is through the supply chain,” said Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, co-founder and president of the Green Sports Alliance. “By better enabling sports venues to implement greener cleaning, we’re helping to educate our members and the marketplace about environmentally preferable products that can reduce impacts on the planet.”
Sports facilities are already benefiting from their greener cleaning initiatives. The Playbook highlights the operational efficiency and cost-saving results at five leading professional and collegiate venues:
• Xcel Energy Center (Home of the Minnesota Wild): Thanks to its switch to greener cleaning products, 90 percent of custodial product purchases meet green standards; and several toxic items have been eliminated entirely, including bleach, floor strippers and harsh seat-cleaning chemicals.
• CenturyLink Field and Events Center (Home of the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders): Reduced the amount of chemicals needed to clean the stadium by more than 61,000 gallons; and reduced battery waste per year by 1,300 pounds with more efficient hand towel dispensers.
• The KFC YUM! Center (University of Louisville): Reduced the cost of cleaning chemicals through the production of solutions on-site, costing just pennies per gallon, and eliminating five previously purchased traditional chemicals.
• Dodgers Stadium (Home of the LA Dodgers): Converted from plastic can liners made from virgin plastic resin to liners made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled resin. Coupled with using liners right-sized to fit their respective containers, the stadium has removed roughly 60,000 pounds of plastic from its waste stream annually.
• Lincoln Financial Field (Home of the Philadelphia Eagles): Replaced most of its traditional cleaning chemicals with devices that electrically convert tap water into an effective and environmentally responsible cleaning solution, reducing the ecological impacts associated with packaging and transporting traditional cleaning chemicals.
About Green Sports Alliance
The Green Sports Alliance leverages the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities where we live and play. The nonprofit does so by inspiring sports leagues, teams, venues, their partners, and millions of fans to embrace renewable energy, healthy food, recycling, water efficiency, species preservation, safer chemicals, and other environmentally preferable practices. Alliance members represent nearly 300 sports teams and venues from 20 different sports leagues and 14 countries. Visit www.greensportsalliance.org for more information.