The Real Green Monster: Game 5

Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays – October 2, 2016

In honor of Big Papi’s final game in the regular season, here is a video of him hitting a monster 514 foot homerun in the Tokyo Dome leaving the opposing pitcher with a look of sheer surrender:

It was Large Father’s final game and everyone came out in full force for the pregame ceremony. Ex-teammates like Pedro, Nomar, Youk, and Manny made an appearance, and even Big Papi’s very own papi (his father), Leo Ortiz stood next to him as he thanked the fans for their support. The Red Sox ownership announced they will retire his number next season, and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker surprised him with the news that they will name a bridge and a road after him in Boston. All I have to say is that Big Papi deserves all of it! Every last piece of infrastructure!

Before the game I was contacted by the City of Cambridge’s very own Recycling Program Manager, Meryl Brott, who had read my blog previously and wanted to join the recycling effort. She came with her friend, Kevin, and they both already knew which items were acceptable or not to bag for recycling. This saved me from having to give my pregame informational pep-talk, which I typically give to new Green Team members. It feels like a lecture, even though I try to keep it down to the length of an elevator pitch (30 seconds).  I hope Meryl invites other members of Cambridge’s recycling and compost team out for a game. The Green Team could use the expertise!


In honor of the man, the myth, the legend, Big Papi, I took 31 bags from the pile at the start of the game, challenging myself to outdo my previous record of 30 bags. If, at the age of 40, he can hit over .300 and be one of the best in the league, then I can strive to be the best in my league. I went out there and had fun, and got bag #31 just as security told me to beat it 5 minutes after the game had ended.

Rewind to the 6th inning. Up in the bleachers, I unabashedly went for a juicy looking empty Goose Island IPA tall-boy can sitting under a young man’s legs. “Wow! That’s aggressive!” he exclaimed with a hint of approval in his voice. I continued up the aisle without looking back, but had to chuckle at his reaction. In order to make recycling a cultural phenomena, people need to be pushed outside their comfort-zone at first. This was an example of a green advocate, not trying to interrupt anyone’s game experience, but getting in someone’s personal space. Hopefully, this volunteering thing works to remind people of the environmental importance of recycling.

On a side note, I apologize to any Red Sox fans who come to Fenway to peacefully watch a baseball game, and then may experience a random stranger donning a green t-shirt reaching under their legs for their empty bottle or can. Although, if you’re looking for a relaxing time, a Red Sox game may not be your best bet. There is so much going on at once in the stands that it can be sensory overload; concession guys hawking their items, the jumbotron pumping out TV-like entertainment, those hecklers behind you that yell out obscenities without any regard for the nearby children, and, of course, foul balls that threaten your safety!

The other humorous moment happened with two ladies who were handing me their recyclables and thanking me for my hard work. As I began to turn away to follow my route, a different lady comes up and, without hesitation, asked, “are you trash?!” looking to throw away the napkins she had bunched up in her hand. I apologized and told her “no,” knowing that she was asking if I was collecting trash, but the other two ladies standing nearby began yukking it up. Next thing I knew, they were showering me with sarcastic kindness. “You’re not trash! You’re a unique and special individual. You shouldn’t let other people talk down to you like that. You’re worth so much!” they went on. A recycler’s support group would be nice I thought to myself.

Methodology section to explain the metrics below.

Weather: Cloudy but dry                                      Date: 10/2/16
# of bags collected as a team


Contamination Errors


Final # of bags


# of bags collected in sampled section after the game


# of people sitting in sampled section during the game


Attendance at game


Estimated total # of bags in stadium


Team Bagging Average


Meryl and Kevin got 6 bags each, and a couple of other volunteers achieved a similar amount. The recyclables collected change over the course of the season, and last night included many more paper products that increased the total volume. For example, I came across a number of posterboard signs, written out to wish Papi farewell, and programs that people bought just to get the accompanying Big Papi pin. The change in material characteristics is similar to municipalities and how they face an “evolving ton ” (which today means less newspaper and more cardboard boxes). A recycler has to be prepared for a shift in strategy to meet this shift in consumer waste.

# of steps walked 10,646
# of individual bags collected 31
Scavenger Efficiency Rate (steps per bag) 343.4

A Scavenger Efficiency Rate any vulture could be proud of. Thankfully, the weather was permitting.

2016 Season Green Team Totals

Season total (less contaminated bags)

 216 bags

 +51  bags
Season total CO2 equivalent savings

3.41 mt

+0.81  mt

Season’s CO2 Equivalent Savings equal to:
Miles driven in an average passenger vehicle


Gallons of gasoline consumed


Pounds of coal burned


Propane cylinders used for home barbecues


Incandescent lamps switched to LEDs


Barrels of oil consumed 7.9  oil
Tree seedlings grown for ten years 88.4  adfsdf

Methodology behind these numbers

The author of this post and leading participant of the Red Sox Green Team, is Charlie Pioli; a recent graduate from Northeastern University with a B.S. in Economics and an unhealthy passion for the environment and baseball. . 

Check out his Twitter or Linkedin profiles for more information about him.


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