Written by Seth Legan, ESLLC 2017-2018
Sports are probably one of the most unsustainable forms of entertainment that there is. Sports teams get new uniforms every year, sometimes multiple in a season, empty Gatorade bottles and cups line the sideline after each game, and yet every weekend is more of the same. We have become a nation that glorifies entertainment so much so that the actions of those involved is less scrutinized. When did players stop being responsible for their actions, and organizations stop trying to reduce their footprint in favor of the “coolest” style? Regardless of when it happened, it has become a large problem in our nation. We have begun to value new over practicality, and in doing so have created an unsustainable entertainment culture.
Playing in sports for all my life that I can remember, I know firsthand how unsustainable sporting events can be. Trash cans are filled with water bottles that are destined to go to the landfill, plastic nacho containers litter the ground, on windy days, broken umbrellas lie around the trash cans waiting for a trip to the landfill. It’s things like these that are common when it comes to sporting events, but all is not lost, all it takes to reverse these problems is a little time, dedication, and a commitment to sustainability. The first step to reversing the unsustainable culture in America is to be more practical with creation of new jerseys and uniforms. Reusing jerseys is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this, but another, newer development that has been taken on by the larger manufacturers in the world like Nike and Adidas, is to use plastic water bottles to create jerseys that can be used longer than normal jerseys. This takes some of the plastic water bottles out of the landfill and gives them a new unexpected use. Another easy solution would be to have recycling bins available so that all of the recyclable bottles and containers wouldn’t have to go to the landfill but could be reused. The last solution I will propose is multifaceted, for professional teams or teams that play in stadiums, there should be reliable and easy public transportation available to encourage fans to use not drive their cars which is a very unsustainable. But then for younger teams, who travel throughout a state to play their games, carpooling needs to be utilized more, it is cheaper, more CO2 efficient and more sustainable.
The stigma created in America that sustainability is an overarching issue that can only be dealt with at a manufactural level is categorically wrong. Sustainability starts at home, in carpooling to games, in recycling, in reusing clothing, there can be sustainability in anything you do. But it starts somewhere, it starts with one sustainable change that can start a chain reaction. For example, energy efficient light bulbs in a home are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to make a change at home and make a difference. I’m just like the next guy and love seeing new jerseys for professional teams because designers come up with some of the most creative designs for the jerseys, and I love drinking Green Apple Gatorades like pretty much every other athlete, but I realize that every little bit matters when it comes to sustainability and that even a small change in one’s habits and can make a difference on a large scale.