Northwest professional sports teams strike gold by going green

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on March 21, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 22 at 8:14 AM

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners and Safeco Field never thought they could save a half million dollars a year by greening up.

The Vancouver Canucks had no idea how much money they could save by converting to energy saving LED lighting.

When the Seahawks, Sounders and Qwest Field tried to cut their waste stream, they never imagined being able to trim it by 58 percent. 

So now they are all teaming up to share their knowledge and flex their collective strength to clean up the excesses of professional sports.

Representatives of teams from six professional sports leagues gathered in Seattle today to launch the Green Sports Alliance.

The Seattle Mariners, Seahawks, Storm, and Sounders joined the NBA's Portland Trailblazers and NHL's Vancouver Canucks to launch the league designed to reduce their major environmental impacts. They will spend their early years analyzing their excesses and successes to formulate a game plan. Then, with the blessings of the pro sports commissioners, they'll try to bring in teams from the rest of the sports world.

It won't take much. Teams all over the country are finding amazing savings by going recyclable, compostable and energy responsible. They''ll pursue long term goals under the watchful eyes of the Federal EPA and the environmental group, Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC).

The NRDC is hoping to use the strength and popularity of professional sports to spread the word about conservation and encourage industries doing business with them to reduce waste and costs.

Fans will notice subtle changes like beer and hot dogs in compostable cups and trays along with recycle bins all over stadiums but they may never see a host of cost cutting measures going on behind the scenes. And if it works, teams should be less likely to hit up fans at the ticket office.

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