The United States Tennis Association (USTA) celebrates the 15th year of its US Open sustainability initiative, continuing the tournament’s decade-plus commitment to reducing the environmental impact of the US Open and helping to create a more sustainable future for our planet.
Since the program’s inception in 2008, working with environmental consultant eco evolutions llc, these initiatives have allowed the US Open to reduce its harmful greenhouse gas emissions by more than 130,000 metric tons. More than 6,500 tons of waste generated during the US Open has been diverted from landfills, saving over 6,400 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of 1,390 passenger cars being driven for a year. Through composting leftover organic matter, nearly 830 tons of food waste has been converted into nutrient-rich compost for gardens and farms, along with more than 185 tons of food being donated to local communities.
In 2019, the US Open became one of the first major North American organizations to sign the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework, joining a group of international sports properties that have committed to drive climate awareness and action. As part of the US Open’s continued commitment to climate-intelligent humanitarian initiatives, returning in 2022 is a carbon offset program that provides improved cookstoves in Uganda. The US Open will offset the estimated carbon generated to run the event as well as from player travel to compete in the event, employee travel to work the event and fan travel for Finals Weekend. This equates to approximately 10 million miles traveled by airplane, car or subway. This initiative provides strong environmental benefits as the reduced consumption of biomass will result in emission reductions and decrease deforestation.
Also returning in 2022 is the US Open’s collaboration with reforestation non-profit One Tree Planted, which is an initiative that was introduced at last year’s tournament. Working with One Tree Planted, the USTA will make a donation to ensure a tree is planted for every player that will be competing in the US Open, amounting to approximately 650 trees. The trees will be planted as part of ongoing reforestation projects in California to help replenish U.S. National Forests that have been impacted by recent forest fires.
US Open sponsors and partners are also making significant contributions to sustainability at the US Open. For example, evian is on a mission to make all its bottles from 100 percent recycled plastic by 2025 (excluding cap and label) the brand is Certified Carbon Neutral by the Carbon Trust. This helps the US Open recycle nearly seven tons of plastic during the event and divert 97% of waste from landfill.
Continuing its commitment to sustainability, the Polo Ralph Lauren ball crew Polos will be made from yarn derived from recycled plastic bottles. The fabric will also have functional performance features, like stretch & moisture-wicking properties, all constructed for active play. In addition, tennis ball cans used at the US Open will feature Wilson’s Eco Overcap, which reduces the amount of plastic by half and leaves a smaller footprint on the environment after it has been used.
The US Open is proud to have earned LEED Silver certification for Louis Armstrong Stadium, which premiered at the 2018 US Open. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green-building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. A number of sustainable design elements were incorporated into Louis Armstrong Stadium, including fixtures that use 40% less water than standard buildings, landscape that is designed to use 55% less water than traditional landscaping and low-emitting paints and finishes. In addition, during construction, 95% of waste was recycled. This is the third LEED certified structure at the home of the US Open, the others being the Grandstand Stadium and VIP/Transportation Building.
Additional components of the US Open sustainability initiative include:
- Recycling and Composting
- New for the 2022 US Open, the USTA will be recycling the clean plastic wrap consumed by vendors throughout the site of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the event.
- At the conclusion of the 2022 US Open, the USTA will be donating the metal lids from the tennis ball cans used during the event to the Ronald McDonald House in Valhalla, N.Y. These metal lids will be recycled to benefit the Ronald McDonald House’s Pull Tab Collection Program for that home.
- The USTA collects the tennis balls used during the matches and players’ practices to reuse in USTA tennis programs and to donate to various community and youth organizations throughout the United States. A large portion of the balls from the 2022 US Open will be donated as a part of Wilson’s initiative with Recycleballs.
- More than 70 tons of food waste from the US Open kitchens will be collected to be process by an anerobic digester to produce renewable electricity.
- Ballpersons are provided with reusable water bottles to reduce the use of single use plastic water bottles.
- Construction and Grounds
- The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is home to three LEED certified structures including: Louis Armstrong Stadium (LEED Silver); Grandstand Stadium; and the Transportation Building.
- Louis Armstrong Stadium:
- Louis Armstrong Stadium uses 40% less water than is used in standard buildings.
- Landscaping around Louis Armstrong Stadium is designed to use 55% less water than traditional landscaping.
- During construction of Louis Armstrong Stadium, 95% of the waste was recycled.
- Louis Armstrong Stadium is designed to use nearly 30% less energy than is used in standard buildings.
- More than 10% of the materials used in Louis Armstrong Stadium’s construction were made from recycled materials.
- Louis Armstrong Stadium is located close to public transportation, encouraging fans to take mass transit and help reduce the carbon footprint.
- Low-emitting paints and finishes were used in Louis Armstrong Stadium’s construction to reduce the emission of pollutants.
- Waste generated in Louis Armstrong Stadium is recycled and composted to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills.
- Grandstand Stadium:
- During the Grandstand’s construction, more than 80% of waste was recycled.
- Primarily due to LED lights, the Grandstand uses 15% less energy than is used in standard buildings.
- The Grandstand makes use of a rainwater treatment system to remove contaminants before the rainwater is discharged into the environment.
- The Grandstand uses 40% less water than is used in standard buildings.
- The Grandstand’s white roof reflects heat to keep the stadium cooler.
- More than 10% of the materials used in the Grandstand’s construction were made from recycled materials.
- Low-emitting paints and finishes were used in the Grandstand’s construction to reduce the emission of pollutants.
- Foam glass, made from 1.3 million recycled glass bottles was used under the foundation of the new US Open broadcast building.
- Refill water stations are located throughout the site to encourage re-use of water bottles.
- LED court lights have been installed and will save a total of 90,000 kWh; 50% more efficient than regular stadium lighting.
- Vendors are provided with a US Open Green Cleaning Policy specifying preferred cleaning products to be used during the US Open.
- Food Service
- Paper or compostable straws will replace plastic straws across the site.
- The majority of the service ware throughout the site is compostable, comprised of bio-based materials.
- US Open food concessionaire, Levy Restaurants, is locally sourcing approximately 20% of its produce and ingredients for the food offered on site. In addition, Levy Restaurants offers 60% naturally-raised protein.
- The US Open expects to donate almost 15 tons of food to the local community.
- Paper Products
- The 2.4 million napkins in the general concession area are comprised of 100% recycled material.
- The US Open Daily is printed on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and printed on machines with dual-printing capabilities.
- US Open tickets are exclusively electronic.
- All US Open digital event cards are provided electronically in place of the over 48,000 plastic versions purchased in the past.
- The USTA will continue to welcome more than 50% of its fans via mass transit or through rideshare.
- The US Open will offset the estimated 3.5 million miles players travel to compete at the US Open; the 3.8 million miles employees travel to work the event; and the 2.7 million miles traveled by fans to attend Finals Weekend.
- Fan Awareness
- 2022 US Open Sustainability Initiatives are featured in the official 2022 US Open Program.
- US Open Sustainability Program facts will be highlighted in-stadium.
- Environmental facts related to the construction of Louis Armstrong Stadium and Grandstand are displayed throughout those areas.
- US Open Merchandise
- The US Open Collection will feature for sale a reusable tote made from 80% post-consumer waste.