10 Ways to a Greener Youth Sports Program
by Karyn Maier, Managing Editor, ClubSpaces.com 

In observance of Earth Day (April 22), we’d like to help your youth sports program take steps to reduce its environmental footprint. You’ll not only be contributing to the welfare of the planet, but you can also add a little more green to your organization’s piggy bank.

1. Join the effort to reduce the use of plastic bottles. Encourage your coaching staff and players to forego bringing bottled water and sports drinks to the field in favor of reusable containers from home instead.

2. See the bigger picture. Instead of ordering expensive team portrait packages that create polluting waste from paper and inks, have someone take team photos with a digital camera. You’ll save money, time, and avoid creating any waste whatsoever.

3. Team up on the road. Whenever possible, organize car-pooling or make use of public transportation to transport everyone to away games. 

4. Reduce, recycle and reuse. Consider purchasing used sports equipment instead of brand new. Look for such opportunities in the classified section of magazines, newspapers, or try an online outlet such as Play It Again Sports

5. Pass it on. Donate any used sports equipment in good condition to the next generation of athletes in your youth sports program.

6. Wear the green. Consider having your team T-shirts printed with vegetable or soy-base inks on organic cotton or hemp material. 

7. Pitch in to beautify your playing field. Make it a team effort to build a simple compost bin to turn grass clippings from mowing into organic mulch for flowerbeds and planters for your grounds.

8. Ditch the snack wrappers. Instead of providing packaged snacks during practices and games, bring along some fresh fruit instead. Sliced watermelon, apples or bananas provide refreshing nourishment and hydration without adding needless packaging to the landfill. (Hint: Support your own community buy purchasing produce from local farmers and co-ops.)

9. Raise your own green. Earn cash for your organization with a recycling fundraiser that gives second life to used items such as printer cartridges and cell phones. In fact, you can follow the example of American Youth Football by partnering with FundingFactory to begin fundraising through recycling.

10. Make the goal! Share this article with other leagues and organizations and challenge them to become green teams too.


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