This year marks the 26th season of the Premier League—the top English professional league association for soccer clubs. For some, it’s hard to believe that the premier league is the most-watched sports league in the world, reaching over 600 million homes. On a giant stage for sharing the love of the sport – teams, stadiums, and organizations around the world are also taking the initiative to promote a sustainable way of playing the beautiful game. Let’s see who’s kicking off this season on a green note.

Manchester United

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It goes without saying that Manchester United is one of the most recognized and respected Premier League Soccer clubs. Their environmental initiatives have proven to be just as impressive as their trophy collection. Old Trafford, the team’s stadium in Greater Manchester, England, uses recycled rainwater for pitch irrigation and maintenance of their facilities. The training center also features a lagoon that uses reed bed technology where dirty water is cleaned, recycled and distributed to maintain the fields. The club ensures that no waste products are sent to landfills, using an extensive recycling system that ensures the materials that cannot be recycled are sent directly to a waste-to-energy plant. Any wasted food from match days is also composted.

One of Manchester United’s environmental awareness initiatives, ‘Reds Go Green’ focuses on waste and recycling. With support from the Manchester United Museum, ‘Reds Go Green’ sends out glass, plastic, cans, green waste from the fields, and office stationary to be re-used or recycled. Even the print publications in the football club are made from sustainable sources, while old IT tools and printer cartridges are recycled, re-used or donated for charitable purposes.

Mineirão

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This Brazilian stadium might be recognized for being the venue for the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2014 FIFA World Cup games but it has been taking home the gold medal long before, when it comes to sustainable operations. Positioned just outside Rio de Janeiro, the Mineirão is the first stadium to have 6,000 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof to generate energy in its area. Not only does the solar roof power the stadium but it sends energy to the local grid which provides for over 1,000 surrounding homes per year.

The famous stadium also has power-efficient lighting systems and uses smart faucets and toilets to save water. According to Brasil.gov.br, the architecture includes reused debris for construction work; reused rainwater (collected in a 6,000 cubic meter reservoir); selective garbage collection and solid waste storage systems; use of wood certified with the sustainable forest management seal; and high-efficiency lighting with low consumption and smart electrical system.

The Mineirão is only the second stadium in the world to be awarded a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum certification. LEED is an international certification used in over 140 countries to certify green buildings, or those designed to reduce impact on the environment.

Dartford FC/ Princes Park

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Dartford Football Club is soaring as the fifth tier of English soccer and so are their sustainability efforts for their stadium. In 2005, the Princes Park Stadium was renovated with newly added sustainable features such as a “living roof.” Living roofs can also be called roof blankets. Theses roof tops reduce heating and add thermal resistance value to different structures while reducing storm water runoff. The Princes Park roof blanket also produces a natural air filtration system. To top it off, during construction of the park in 2005, the ground level was sunk down two meters to reduce noise and light pollution.

Forest Green Rovers F.C.

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Forest Green Rovers Football Club may not be in the premier league but they certainly keep their stadium in shape like a top flight team. Based in Gloucestershire, England, Forest Green Rovers have dreams of becoming Great Britain’s most sustainable football club.

Not only is their stadium eco-friendly but their match day menu is completely vegan. You wouldn’t be able to find any red meat in the stadium concessions on a game day. The players are served a strict vegan diet and the fans are served vegan pies. If that was not impressive enough, the all organic stadium field is maintained by a solar-powered robotic lawn mower. With 100 solar panels on the Forest Green Rover property, the stadium has made a huge impact by using solar power to generate its energy.

Major League Soccer/ MLS WORKS: Greener Goals

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We can’t talk sustainability and Soccer without the Major League Soccer (MLS) organization. MLS teams and employees have partnered with charitable organizations to volunteer their time and give back through eco-friendly initiatives—one of those initiatives being MLS WORKS.

MLS WORKS is a member of the Green Sports Alliance, a non-profit organization that encourages the influence of sports to promote health and sustainability in communities. The Alliance inspires their partners and millions of fans to adopt energy, healthy nutrition choices, recycling, water efficiency, species preservation, safer chemicals and other environmentally safe practices. In the past MLS WORKS has had over 1,500 MLS players, employees and supporters get involved and has donated more 6,500 volunteer hours.

All of the noted teams, stadiums and organizations have made a tremendous contribution to the environment with their green initiatives and plans. Whether you’re a super fan of the game or simply watch to enjoy the company of friends and family, let’s continue to support the efforts made to include sustainability in sports.

To watch the latest premier league match tune into NBC Sports Soccer

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