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Pittsburgh Pirates and PNC Park Increase Waste Diversion

Pioneers in the professional sports greening movement, make sustainability the rule rather than the exception.

Situation

  • In 2009, PNC Park generated 1,113 tons of waste, and only 36% was recycled
  • Pittsburgh Pirates Chairman, Bob Nutting, introduced "Let’s Go Bucs. Let’s Go Green." initiative

Solution

  • Introduce compostable food serviceware into all stadium dining areas
  • Partner with organics composting company and design new infrastructure for easy sorting and hauling.
  • Engage staff, vendors and fans to participate.
  • Support the City of Pittsburgh and become a role model for sustainable business practices
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Pirates Compost Graph

2013 Stats

  • Diversion rate of 65 percent in 2012, up from 28 percent in 2008
  • Converted 646.7 tons of food waste to compost in 2012 vs 130.7 tons in 2009
  • Over 6 million pounds of materials recycled since 2008, including 343,000 pounds of glass and 300,000 pounds of plastic
  • More than 1.3 million plastic cups and bottles generated by fans are recycled each year
  • 1,641 tons composted from inception in April of 2009 through the end of 2012
  • 453.1 tons composted in 2013 (as of June 30, 2013)
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Pirates Chairman, Bob Nutting has a great appreciation for the environment & the positive impact that implementing greening initiatives at PNC Park has on it. The use of compostable food serviceware in our stadium is helping preserve it.

Sissy Burkhart, Cleaning Operations Mgr. Pittsburgh Pirates Organization

Key Stakeholders

  • Aramark – the product vendor who combined many high-quality compostable products under one roof for easy ordering
  • Levy Restaurants – the foodservice vendor responsible for buying products and distributing them for use throughout PNC Park
  • AgRecycle – source separated organics composting company responsible for collecting all food scraps and compostable products. Now going into their 5th year of partnership.

Composting has the ability to transform food scraps and other organic "wastes" into soil amendments that can invigorate and improve the biology, chemistry, physical properties and water-holding capacity of depleted and contaminated soils throughout this country in as an environmentally sound process as is possible. We know that people divert food scraps to recycling via composting at an exponentially higher rate when they are able to toss a compostable food serviceware item, on which their food was served, into a single container with the food and not scrape the food off separately as is the case with traditional recyclables. Last year only 1% of the disposable food serviceware in the U.S. was recycled. That is 1% of 180 billion pieces. Just imagine the difference it could make to the soil health of the United States if even 10% of those pieces were compostable and they, along with the food scraps clinging to them, were reincarnated as organic building blocks through composting.

–  Carla Castagnero, President, AgRecycle, Inc.
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