Think Green

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Go green at the game

Sporting events are often steeped in tradition. The teams battling it out have their own histories, but the fans in attendance no doubt have their own customs as well. Many parents make attending certain sporting events with their kids a family tradition, while other fans may wear a favorite hat or jersey to the game no matter how many miles such attire has on it.

But even if you and your fellow sports enthusiasts already adhere to your own unique traditions, one way to improve on an already fun experience is to embrace eco-friendly behaviors the next time you cheer on the home team. The following are a handful of ways you can go green at the game.

• Carpool with fellow fans. If yours is a sports-obsessed community, chances are strong a neighbor, relative or friend will be heading to the big game this weekend. Instead of traveling separately, carpool to the game with fellow fans who live nearby. This cuts back on fuel consumption, saving you and your fellow fans money in the process, and can reduce the air pollution that is produced by congested traffic. In addition to saving on fueling costs, carpooling to the game also will save you money on parking, which can be very expensive at big-time sporting events.

• Tailgate with the environment in mind. Tailgating is a tradition for many sports fans who simply can't imagine attending a game without first gathering with friends in the parking lot to enjoy some great food and even better company. Before hosting your next tailgate party, choose locally produced foods to feed your guests. Such foods, which can include everything from vegetables to the beef you use to make the perfect tailgate-worthy hamburgers, don't need to be shipped across the country to end up on your plate, which means less fuel was used by the food supplier than if the food was shipped from elsewhere in the country.

• Don't discard your tailgate leftovers. It's tempting to simply throw away any food leftover when the time comes to leave the tailgate and go watch the game. But discarded food will eventually end up in landfills, where it will produce a harmful greenhouse gas known as methane. Instead of tossing leftovers at the end of a tailgate, store them in sealable containers and put them on ice in a cooler so they don't spoil. You can then enjoy a postgame snack or simply have some leftovers to eat later in the week.

• Go tech with your tickets. In lieu of traditional paper tickets, many venues now allow entry to fans with e-tickets that can be scanned right from your smartphone. Such tickets include bar codes that can be scanned just like others items you might pay for at a grocery store or retailer. The added bonus of e-tickets on your smartphone is you are less likely to forget your smartphone on your dresser at home than you might be to leave paper tickets behind.

Sports fans may think nothing can improve the experience of seeing their favorite team in person. But doing so in an eco-friendly way can make the day that much more enjoyable.