Giants Ban Nasty Chemicals... From Team Uniforms


Baseball can be a dirty game. The San Francisco Giants are making it a bit cleaner for the environment. Photo by bryce_edwards via Flickr.

As the San Francisco Giants continue their chase for a Wild Card berth in the October playoffs, fans are bound to see a lot of dramatic diving catches and slides into home plate. And when those players get their uniforms dirty scrapping for a spot in the Fall Classic, the clubhouse crew will now wash them in eco-friendly detergent -- a small "first" for the the team that is just one among the Giants' many pioneering green initiatives.Though baseball may be a long way from getting performance-enhancing substances out of its players' bodies, the Giants announced last month that they have fully "detoxed" their laundry operations by switching to botanically based suds from VASKA, a manufacturer of institutional laundry and cleaning products based just across the bay in Berkeley, California. VASKA's biodegradable products are phosphate-free and certified under the EPA's Safer Detergents Stewardship Initiative (SDSI) as containing no hormone-disrupting nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs).

Clean Laundry, Clean Planet
"We want the very best for our players and for the environment, and when VASKA demonstrated that their approach effectively cleans tough game stains, left the uniforms softer and smelling better than ever, and is gray water safe, we did not hesitate to use their products in our clubhouse," said Giants Clubhouse Manager Mike Murphy.

The switch is just the latest in a line of eco-friendly moves from the team, which was the first to incorporate solar technology and is now seeking to make its transit-friendly AT&T; Park the first major-league ballpark to receive U.S. Green Building Council certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings, Operations and Maintenance (LEED EBO&M;). That's a mouthful, but what it basically means is making an existing building more efficient in terms of energy and water use and minimizing its environmental impact. To that end, the Giants have:

  • Retrofitted one of their popular garlic fries concession stands to reduce gas consumption by 32 percent and cooking-oil consumption by 12 percent; the fries themselves now come in compostable containers
  • Introduced a "Green Team" to collect trash for their already successful recycling and composting program and enlist fans in the effort
  • Replaced several hundred incandescent lights with compact fluorescent bulbs
  • Installed a new scoreboard that is 78 percent more efficient than the old one
  • Changed the composition of the infield and installed a new irrigation clock that will help reduce water use by 33 to 50 percent

So no matter what the final standings say about this season for the Giants, their fans have got a lot to cheer about.

More about sports and the environment:
How to Go Green: Outdoor Sports
Tell the 49ers and Santa Clara, CA that You Support Eco-friendly Football
Chelsea Football Team is the Greenest, Plus Other Winners
NBA Green Week 2009 and Hockey Pros Give Emissions Reductions a Shot
Spoil Sports: 7 Activities that Damage the Environment
Football Fans Can Help Plant Trees
The Green Stampede Hits College Football - Greening the Gridiron
Treehugger Picks: Baseball Getting Greener
Football Season Is at Hand: Green Your Tailgating

Tags: Chemicals | Detergents | Laundry | San Francisco