We may be biased, but the Minnesota Twins have one beautiful ballpark. Since 2010, Target Field has been home to the MLB team and a must-see stadium for baseball fans. With the move to their own stadium from the former Metrodome, the Twins had the opportunity to build a sustainable organization from the ground up - and they did. 

Relan sat down with Gary Glawe, Senior Director, Facilities for the Minnesota Twins to chat about the Twins’ sustainability efforts. We discussed fan engagement, diversion rates, and the LEED certified ballpark. Here’s what we learned:

 Evening Twins game at Target Field in Minneapolis, MN

Their operations earned a LEED silver certification

The Twins take their stadium operations seriously and consider their environmental impact in everything they do. Target Field was awarded a LEED silver certification for their efforts, becoming the second sports stadium to earn a LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Glawe also enlightened us on the following initiatives taking place at the ballpark: 

  • Target Field has a water reclamation system that recycles roughly 2 million gallons of water per year. Much of the water is used to wash the seats and other parts of the stadium, which then goes back into the water reclamation system.

  • The stadium is equipped with dual-flush toilets and programmed lighting and HVAC systems to preserve energy 
  • The operations team is busy doing LED retrofits to become even more energy efficient 


Their diversion rate is no joke

The Twins take pride in their diversion rate, which clocked in at 74% in 2014 and is tracking to be 80% or higher in 2015. At the end of last season, the Twins traded in their serving materials to compostable items. Now, visit the ballpark and you’ll find large recycling and compostable bins where trash cans used to be. The Twins also have all of their trash sorted on-site to make sure the correct items are being recycled and composted. 

The ballpark also donates all unused food from their games to Rock and Wrap it Up, an organization that collects and donates the unused food to those in need. Fun fact: Rock and Wrap it up recovered over 1 billion meals since 1991 by partnering with organizations like the Twins.

 The Minnesota National Guard recognized at Target Field

They involve fans in the sustainability fun

The Twins work hard to involve their fans in the ballpark’s sustainability efforts. Videos are run before the start of each game to educate fans on the use of the recycling and composting bins, and signage is posted throughout the stadium to assist fans. 

Glawe also described the Learning through Baseball youth education tours, which covers topics from sustainability to math and science, art, architecture, and women in baseball. In regards to the sustainability tours, Glawe explained, “I think having people, especially kids, come here and see what we do and [that we’re] doing the right thing can [influence] them to do that at home as well.” 


The benefits of their efforts extend beyond the ROI

The Twins are a leader in sports sustainability and as Glawe explained, “not everything we do has an ROI.” Rather, the first question the organization asks when exploring a new initiative is, “Is it the right thing to do?”. In some cases, sustainability initiatives may cost the organization money, but if the answer to that question is a “yes”, then they’ll often find a way to make it happen. This is not only admirable, but helps explain why the Twins are a leader in this arena. 

A big thanks to Gary Glawe and the Twins for the great interview and for their leadership as a sustainable sports team! There is still time to catch the Twins at Target Field this month as they take on the Tigers, Angels, and Indians. 

This post is part one of a blog series highlighting professional Minnesota sports teams and their commitment to sustainability. As a Minnesota-based company, we are excited to share all of the amazing things our hometown heroes are up to in the world of sustainability. 

Image credits: 1) Flickr/Dennis Brekke  3) Flickr/Minnesota National Guard