US Open Celebrates 12th Anniversary Of Sustainability Program

NEW YORK, August 28, 2019 (US Open Press Release)

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) celebrates the 12th year of its US Open sustainability initiative, continuing the tournament’s decade-plus commitment to reducing the environmental impact of the US Open, marked this year by a focus on global climate action and increased sponsor and partner participation.

Earlier this year, the USTA became one of the first major North American organizations to sign the United Nation’s Sports for Climate Action Framework, joining a group of international sports organizations that have committed to drive climate awareness and action.

Continuing its investment in climate-intelligent humanitarian offsets from last year, the USTA will once again dedicate its carbon offset program to providing improved cook stoves in Malawi, which provides a variety of benefits over cooking on a traditional open fire. The USTA’s investment into the improved cook stove project helps to save more than three tons of firewood and six tons of CO2 emissions each year – contributing to a better environment on a global scale. On a more local scale, the project provides a cleaner cooking option for families and prevents exposure to indoor cooking smoke for Malawian families, which is the world’s leading killer of children under age 5.

New for 2019, the USTA will be accounting for the carbon generated by fans traveling to attend Finals Weekend at the US Open.  This builds upon the investment the USTA is already making to offset the carbon emitted from player travel to compete in the tournament and employees to work the event – all totaling approximately 10 million miles traveled by airplane, car, or subway.  All unavoidable energy used to run the US Open will also be offset.

US Open sponsors and partners are also making significant contributions to sustainability at the US Open. For example, Evian’s “Flip it For Good” campaign brings a fun twist to encourage fans to recycle their bottles at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. This helps the US Open recycle nearly seven tons of plastic during the event and divert 97 percent of waste from landfill.  Evian bottles are not only recyclable, but also made from at least 25 percent recycled material and will reach 100 percent (excluding cap and label) by 2025.

The 2019 US Open ballperson polos, shorts and skorts provided by Polo Ralph Lauren are proudly made from recycled materials. Each uniform is made from approximately 10 recycled plastic bottles. Wilson racquet stringers at the US Open will no longer be using plastic bags to wrap the 5,300-plus racquets strung during the three weeks of the event. And working with Wilson, the US Open will be recycling all of the used racquet strings from the event; that’s more than 35 miles of string. In addition, Constellation NewEnergy, the US Open’s energy supplier, is donating 2,000 Green-e Energy certified Renewable Energy Certificates to cover the electricity consumed during the 2019 US Open.

The new Louis Armstrong Stadium, which debuted at last year’s US Open as the final step in the five-year strategic transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, has earned LEED Silver certification, joining the Grandstand Stadium and the Transportation Building as the third LEED-certified structure on-site.

A number of sustainable design elements were incorporated into Louis Armstrong Stadium, including fixtures that use 40 percent less water than standard buildings, landscape that is designed to use 55 percent less water than traditional landscaping and low-emitting paints and finishes. In addition, during construction, 95 percent of waste was recycled.

Since 2008, working with environmental consultant eco evolutions llc, the US Open has reduced its greenhouse emissions by 100,000 metric tons through waste diversion, recycled paper use, carbon offsets and renewable energy certificates. More than 4,500 tons of waste generated during the US Open has been diverted from landfills, saving over 4,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of 845 passenger cars being driven for a year. Through composting leftover organic matter, nearly 700 tons of food waste has been converted into nutrient-rich compost for gardens and farms, along with over 100 tons of food being donated to local communities.

Additional components of the US Open sustainability initiative include:

  • Construction and Grounds
    • 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 percent less water than is used in standard buildings.
      • Landscaping around Louis Armstrong Stadium is designed to use 55 percent less water than traditional landscaping.
      • During construction of Louis Armstrong Stadium, 95 percent of the waste was recycled.
      • Louis Armstrong Stadium is designed to use nearly 30 percent less energy than is used in standard buildings.
      • More than 10 percent 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 percent of the waste was recycled.
      • Primarily due to LED lights, the Grandstand uses 15 percent 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 percent less water than is used in standard buildings.
      • The Grandstand’s white roof reflects heat to keep the stadium cooler.
      • ‘More than 10 percent 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.
    • All of the courts are painted with DecoColor by DecoTurf, the only sports surfacing product that is certified by Green Wise and meets strict VOC requirements.
    • LED court lights have been installed and will save a total of 90,000 kWh; 50 percent 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
    • 12,000 gallons of food grease from US Open kitchens will be converted into biodiesel fuel.
    • More than 70 tons of food waste from the US Open kitchens will be collected to be turned into compost for landscape and farming uses.
    • 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 percent of its produce and ingredients for the food offered on site.  In addition, Levy Restaurants offers 63 percent naturally-raised protein.
    • The US Open expects to donate almost 15 tons of food to the local community.
    • Imperfectly Delicious Produce (IDP) program, used by US Open chefs, supplies imperfect fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be discarded, further eliminating food waste
  • Paper Products
    • Napkins in the general concession area are comprised of 100 percent 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 provided electronically.
  • Transportation
    • The USTA will continue to welcome over 50 percent 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
    • US Open Sustainability Booth located on site to showcase the evolution and impact of the program.
    • 2019 US Open Sustainability Initiatives are featured in the official 2019 US Open Program.
    • US Open Sustainability Program facts highlighted in-stadium.
    • Environmental facts related to the construction of Louis Armstrong Stadium and Grandstand are displayed throughout those areas.
    • Green Sports Alliance environmental tips will be featured in the US Open Daily as well as communicated through US Open social media channels and on USOpen.org.
  • US Open Merchandise
    • At the US Open Collection merchandise locations, fans will receive with their purchase a US Open souvenir-style shopping bag designed for multiple-use with a “Recycle and Reuse” message printed on the bottom.
    • The US Open Collection will feature for sale a reusable tote made from 80 percent post-consumer waste.
  • Social Responsibility
    • At the conclusion of the 2019 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 player’s practices to reuse in USTA tennis programs and to donate to various community and youth organizations throughout the United States.
    • At the conclusion of the US Open, all shoes left behind by the players are donated to Souls4Soles.