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03/11/2008 2:42 PM ET
Pirates launch greening initiatives program at PNC Park
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The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced the launch of the club's new greening initiatives program which has been branded "Let's Go Bucs. Let's Go Green." The program integrates greening initiatives, sustainable business practices and educational outreach. The Pirates were joined at the announcement by City of Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allen Kukovich, Southwest Regional Director from the Office of Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

The program's launch marks the beginning of a dedicated effort by the Pirates and their PNC Park partners CB Richard Ellis, ARAMARK and Levy Restaurants to be more environmentally conscious and to strengthen their collective commitment to go green when possible moving forward, according to Bob Nutting, Pirates Chairman of the Board.

"We are not launching this program because 'going green' is a popular trend. We are doing it because it is the right thing to do," said Nutting. "The measures being put into place at the ballpark will have an immediate positive impact. These initiatives not only make sense for the environment, but they make good business sense as well. This is another example of our systematic approach to improve our operations, both on and off the field."

In the months following Nutting assuming control of the ballclub in January of 2007, the Pirates conducted a detailed, exhaustive review of their operating procedures at the ballpark. To identify additional opportunities to become more environmentally conscious, the club proactively enrolled the help of the Washington D.C.-based National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a nationally recognized authority on environmental studies. The results of the club work with the NRDC which are at the core of the "Let's Go Bucs. Let's Go Green." program.

Elements include a robust recycling program at PNC Park that will capture the more than 760,000 plastic bottles and aluminum cans that are distributed during the baseball season. The club will place 180 recyclable containers, including 90 contour bottle-shaped receptacles, throughout the ballpark with the program's logo. The Pirates will also capture other discarded bottles and cans through collections by game day staff at the end of each game. Cleaning crews known as the "Green Team" will then conduct a separate sweep of the ballpark to pick up all remaining recyclable goods prior to the daily cleaning of the ballpark.

Beginning with the 2008 season, both of PNC Park's concessionaires, ARAMARK and Levy Restaurants, will be using corn-based beverage cups. The companies will also eliminate most of the non-biodegradable materials that were being used in utensils, plates, napkins and food carriers to serve fans in years past.

All paper used in the ballpark, including in the Pirates front office, will be more environmentally friendly, including all bathroom paper products and office paper, including copy paper, team stationary and business cards. The club will eliminate its use of about 33,000 Styrofoam cups each year, encourage all of its employees to print on both sides of paper when possible, separate office trash in order to recycle all dry waste paper products, and print its various publications on FSC certified paper.

The Pirates are also taking steps to make the ballpark more energy efficient by installing motion detectors in 86 specific locations, using the lowest voltage lights possible in ballpark signage and switching to more energy efficient bulbs moving forward.

"The 'Let's Go Bucs. Let's Go Green.' program is a way that we can utilize our position within the greater-Pittsburgh community to raise awareness of this important issue," said Pirates President Frank Coonelly. "We hope that our program will appeal to our fans and area businesses by demonstrating how these green initiatives can be simple activities that any business or household can do."

Part of the program is the planned educational outreach by the club, including in-ballpark promotion. In addition to the hard-to-miss contour bottles, the club will be showcasing the program through various ballpark signage as well as public service announcements from Pirates players on the video board. The club will also promote various program initiatives moving forward on the club's official website,, in its various publications and during game broadcasts.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Pirates organization and what they are pushing to accomplish," said Allen Hershkowitz, Senior Scientist, NRDC. "Having worked closely with Bob and the leadership team in the months since they first approached our organization, the club's strong commitment to being an industry leader of environmentally intelligent operations is quite clear. This program is an important, high profile step forward for Pittsburgh and Major League Baseball more generally. The Natural Resources Defense Council applauds this wonderful work."
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