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Sustainability Program Update with Joe Murphy

First season of new sustainability program underway

Ryne Ryskoski

Duluth, Minn — Joe Murphy, this year’s Sustainability Program Intern, has been roaming through Wade Stadium during home games this summer educating and informing people about the safe and productive ways to dispose of waste properly. He has been working diligently behind the scenes to get things organized for each game, ensure that certain waste is in the correct places and disposed of after the games, create different events and informationals for fans to take part in, and much more. So how has the first season of this innovative project gone?

One of Joe’s goals that he set before the start of the season was to manage waste streams and educate the public about how to sort their waste properly and their perception of sustainability at a ballpark, and he believes that there is progress being made. “Reception from the fanbase has been generally positive and the staff and front office of Wade Stadium has been very receptive to learning and having more accountability of sorting their waste properly”, he says.

The job of implementing a revamp of a new focused sustainability program is something that has never been done at Wade Stadium or anywhere in the Northwoods League for that matter, so he recognizes that there are challenges. But for the Environment and Sustainability major, it’s just another task that he looks forward to tackling. “This has absolutely been a learning curve attempting to build the program from the ground up, however, we have done some groundbreaking actions that hopefully will impact more teams in the Northwoods League.”

He has taken steps to try and implement new things to make things easier for everyone, some of which regular Huskies fans may have seen on game days. Signs on bins that display what type of waste goes where for instance is a small thing that has made a big difference in getting people to think twice before throwing their trash away. He has also set up booths, tables, interactive in between-inning games, and events to teach fans about how they can change the way they view waste disposal and the environment in general.

In June he oversaw a waste audit where himself and volunteers from the UMD Office of Sustainability went through Wade Stadium’s trash to determine which areas (waste, recycling, compost) are performing well, and which ones aren’t. “It’s not a pretty job but it was crucial to see a breakdown with hard numbers of how well we are sorting at The Wade.” They observed that about 64% of what was in the trash bin was sorted properly, which is not too bad. However, the recycling bin had severe contamination with only about 41% being properly sorted, and almost 25% of the recycling sorted and weighed, were liquids. “This is not good because liquids in any recycling load can ruin other clean, dry recyclables by making them wet. We need to get better about finishing our drinks or dumping them out before tossing them in the recycling bin”, he says. Murphy and his associates will undergo a 2nd audit before the end of the season to get more data and see if there have been improvements in that area.

Murphy is already looking forward to next season, and years to come. “We will consider experimenting with a different, more user-friendly bin next season and will be seeking changes in alternative options in some of our product line for the upcoming season.” Choosing which bin you throw away your beer, soda cup, or food try is a choice. So next time you come to Wade Stadium, think twice about where you’re throwing away your things so the Huskies can continue to be an innovator in the Northwoods League and the city of Duluth.

Be sure to follow the Duluth Huskies on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat all season long. Check out duluthhuskies.com for tickets to upcoming games. For more in-depth news on the Huskies, be sure to follow @XtraInningsWithRyne and @JoeChatzHuskies on Facebook.

 

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The Duluth Huskies are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Now in its 26th anniversary season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.duluthhuskies.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Huskies as your favorite team.