The United States Tennis Association (USTA) celebrates the 10th anniversary of its Green Initiative program at the 2017 US Open. Since its inception in 2008, the US Open Green Initiative has expanded each year to continuously make environmentally-sustainable choices that reduce the impact the US Open has on the environment.
In this, the 10th year of the program, 90 percent of US Open waste will be diverted from landfills, 12,000 gallons of kitchen grease will be recycled into biodiesel fuel, and more than 60 tons of organic waste from US Open kitchens will be composted.
Since 2008, the US Open has reduced its greenhouse emissions by 94,000 metric tons through waste diversion, recycled paper use, carbon offsets, and renewable energy certificates. This includes the diversion of more than 3,400 tons of waste and the recycling of nearly 2.6 million plastic bottles. The US Open has obtained enough renewable energy credits to provide electricity to 1,600 homes for an entire year and has donated more than 100 tons of food to local communities.
In addition, as the USTA continues its strategic transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, green building choices are incorporated into each step of the process, demonstrated by the LEED certification of the Grandstand Stadium and Transportation Building. The new Louis Armstrong Stadium, set to debut in 2018, is on track to be LEED certified for the 2018 US Open.
More than 95 percent of the waste from the demolition of both the original Grandstand and Louis Armstrong Stadiums was recycled. The new Louis Armstrong Stadium will use 40 percent less water through waterless urinals and low-flow plumbing fixtures. Landscaping around the new stadium has been designed to use 55 percent less water and the stadium, as a whole, has been designed to consume 25 percent less energy.
In collaboration with environmental consultant, eco evolutions, initiatives for 2017 include:
- The USTA will recycle cardboard, plastics, glass and metals collected throughout the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
- More than 60 tons of food waste will be collected from the kitchens to be turned into compost for landscape and farming uses.
- The USTA will collect the 45,000 tennis balls used during the matches and player practices to reuse in USTA tennis programs and donate to various community and youth organizations nationwide.
- Following the US Open, approximately 15,000 tennis ball cans are recycled.
- From the kitchens at the US Open, approximately 12,000 gallons of food grease will be collected to convert into biodiesel fuel.
- Unused food will be donated to the community.
- More than 90% of the paper products, including the 2.4 million napkins in the general concession area will be made of recycled materials and/or compostable materials.
- All US Open-related printed materials (US Open media guide, marketing collateral, tickets and the Daily Drawsheet, among others) are composed of at least 30 percent post-consumer waste.
- US Open tickets are printed on paper comprised of 30 percent post-consumer waste, and parking books, parking visors and coupon books are printed on paper made up of 10-15 percent post-consumer waste.
- All paper towel dispensers have been replaced with motion-sensor dispensers and all paper towels are comprised of 40 percent post-consumer waste.
- Paper use is reduced through electronic communications to players, media and fans, and players have access to a player’s-only web portal.
- Carbon offsets are acquired for the estimated miles players travel by air as well as the miles they travel on the ground to get to the US Open.
- Carbon offsets are also acquired for the estimated 800,000 vehicle miles traveled by employees to work at the US Open.
- Champion Energy, the US Open’s energy supplier, is donating Green-e certified Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to offset the electricity consumed during the 2017 US Open.
- Carbon emissions from player travel and on site fuel use will be offset with the purchases of Green-e Climate Carbon Offsets.
- Vendors are provided with a US Open Green Cleaning Policy specifying preferred cleaning products to be used during the US Open.
Site renovations and expansion
- The stadium lights throughout the NTC have been replaced with LED lights which will reduce energy use by 50 percent.
- Water refilling stations have been added to the site to encourage waste minimization by reducing single use water bottle.
- As part of recent renovations at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the USTA has incorporated green building design elements (such as water efficient fixtures, recycling of construction waste, low emitting paints and sealants, recycled materials, efficient lighting and HVAC systems). To facilitate this process, the USTA has become members of the United Sates Green Building Council as of August 2013 and achieved LEED certification for the newest Grandstand Stadium and Transportation building. We are currently pursuing LEED certification for the new Armstrong Stadium.
- At the US Open Collection merchandise locations, fans will receive with their purchase a US Open souvenir-style shopping bag designed for multiple-use.
- The US Open Collection will include environmentally friendly items including a reusable tote made from 80 percent post-consumer waste, cinch bags constructed from recycled bottles and 100 percent recycled post-consumer and post-industrial paper product.
- US Open Green Initiatives are featured in the official US Open Program.
- Environmental tips are featured in the Daily Drawsheet as well as communicated through US Open social media channels. Labels on waste bins to educate fans on waste diversion program.
- Signage on paper towel dispensers to remind fans to use only what they need.
- Signs in kitchens to educate staff on proper recycling and composting procedures.
- 20 percent of produce used during the Open is from local farms.