New guidelines will help sports venues implement greener cleaning programs
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.
released about American public schools. The report, A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, suggested that other countries around the world were outperforming US schools. Considered a landmark event, the report cited a number of examples to support this conclusion. For example, it revealed that the average SAT scores dropped “over 50 points” in the verbal section and ‘nearly 40 points” in the mathematics section of the test from 1963 to 1980.
Authors of the study included 18 members from the private sector, business and education. Among other things, they found that one-fifth of the students tested could not write a persuasive essay and only one-third could solve a mathematical problem if it required multiple steps. Further, when compared to students outside the United States, the authors found that on “19 academic tests American students were never first or second in comparison with other industrialized nations.”
The report included 38 recommendations which all fell into five major categories: Content, Standards and Expectations, Time, Teaching, Leadership and Fiscal Support. However, what was missing from the recommendations was the need for American schools to be clean and healthy. It is interesting — and possibly quite timely to note — that just a few years before the report was released, taxpayers were increasingly putting restraints on school budgets. Some of these were the result of “taxpayer revolts” that began in California in 1978 with the passage of Proposition 13, soon followed in Massachusetts with Proposition 2½.
Why this history lesson about American schools?
With the taxpayer revolts in the 1970s and 1980s, one of the budget items to be scaled back in many school districts was cleaning. In fact, in far too many instances, cleaning budgets were the first things on the chopping block. And since 2008’s financial collapse, schools have been burdened with even more drastic budget cuts. As a result, today we find many school buildings from coast to coast are in need of repairs, are burdened with unsafe toxins, and are staffed by far fewer custodial workers using outdated cleaning products and equipment, along with traditional — non-environmentally friendly — cleaning solutions. Further, proper training of these custodial workers has suffered significantly.
To many, it does not appear that much has improved since the 1983 report. And while there are likely many reasons for the decline in American school performance over the past few decades, one that cannot be ignored is that American schools are simply not cleaned and cared for as well as they should be and could be. Consider that a quarter of all Americans are using these schools every day. It is imperative for schools to be as clean and healthy as possible and for them to be cleaned using environmentally preferable cleaning chemicals and products, which we now know can help improve student performance.
From our June 2015 DestinationGreen Newsletter
I get so inspired watching elite athletes execute both individually and as a team.
Their physical ability, strength, endurance and court/field/track awareness can be true artistry.
I have seen how hard they work improving their technique, strengthening both the physical as well as the mental side of the game, planning and film study; practicing and more practicing.
I especially like watching the men and women when the game/race is on the line who want to take full responsibility for winning or losing on their shoulders — and calmly get it done!
Green Sports Alliance Summit
So, if you are like me, please consider joining me at the Green Sports Alliance Summit which will be held this year in Chicago from June 29 to July 1, 2015.
We are expecting 750 people for the Summit including current and retired pro players, along with league executives, team owners, venue operators, government officials, advocates, green product vendors and more.
We will have a small exhibit area for vendors (which sold out this year) including a number of leading Green Cleaning product manufacturers, distributors and service providers. Plus we will have a number of great tours of the Chicago sport venues and a fun evening at Soldier Field for a celebration with the pros!
The theme this year is around fan engagement. Dr. Allen Hershkowitz, president of the Green Sports Alliance and the man I consider the “father of Green sports,” best summed up the power of the sporting industry when his research concluded, “less than 13 percent of Americans follow science…but more than 63 percent follow sports.” No wonder athletes are used as spokespeople to sell pizzas, insurance, sneakers and more.
So as the professional and collegiate sporting industry adopts Greener practices – and as sports fans realize their favorite teams are getting on the green, health and sustainable bandwagon- more Americans and fans all around the globe will follow suit and implement better practices in their personal, family and professional lives. Sports can make it cool!
Greener Cleaning in Sports Facilities
There will be some 80 speakers addressing the issues that green sport teams care about such as:
- Strategies for engaging fans and increasing sponsorships
- Reducing energy and water consumption to save money and protect the environment
- Offering healthier choices for game-day foods
- Encouraging more women to get involved in professional sports
We will also have a specific focus on Green Cleaning where we will be introducing our new Playbook on Greener Cleaning in Sport Facilities.
On Tuesday (6/30) at 12:15pm we will be in the UPS Clubhouse Theater for the “official” release of the Playbook, and then on Wednesday (7/1) at 11:15am there will be a terrific how-to workshop titled Better Places to Play: Creating Healthier Venues for Athletes & Fans featuring a great line-up of health, environmental and cleaning experts.
We will thank over 100 individuals for their contribution to the Playbook, along with 22 product manufacturers, distributors and service providers.
And a special “shout out” goes to ISSA for their support and to the Healthy Schools Campaign who we will work with to try and take the lessons learned from the pro and collegiate sport facilities to help create cleaner, healthier and greener sport facilities at K-12 schools.
All in all, this is going to be an awesome, fun-filled, educational, inspiring and meaningful event. Sports really is helping us create a better world and I hope you can be a part of it.