The Pittsburgh Pirates and Duquesne Light Company announced a partnership Wednesday that will enhance PNC Park’s sustainability practices, as well as give back to local underserved communities.
The partnership continues the Pirates year-round commitment to sustainability and will focus on two key elements- the “Duquesne Light Power Hitters” program and support of the PNC Park Urban Garden, powered by Duquesne Light.
On Thursday’s Earth Day, the Pirates and Duquesne Light will partner together on the reopening of the PNC Park Suite Level’s Urban Garden. The groups will join with Grow Pittsburgh beginning at 11 a.m. for a special planting event in the Urban Garden. Volunteers from the Pirates and Duquesne Light front offices and local volunteers will prepare the area and plant the many herbs and vegetables that will grow in-park throughout the season.
The Urban Garden utilizes 100-percent sustainable practices and provides the ballpark with healthy food, grown on-site. Each season, the Urban Garden produces more than 300 pounds of fresh produce that is utilized within recipes for menu options available throughout PNC Park. The garden produces a variety of items that are hand-selected by Aramark and PNC Park’s Executive Chef Pastor Jimenez.
The “Duquesne Light Power Hitters” program is a unique venture that will grow throughout the season as Duquesne Light and Pirates Charities will partner to plant one tree for every Pirates home run hit this season. The program will assist underserved neighborhoods because research shows these neighborhoods are more susceptible to “heat island impacts,” which can cause impaired water quality, increased energy consumption, and compromised health quality.
The neighborhoods are urban areas with buildings, roads, and other infrastructure that absorb the sun’s heat more than naturally landscaped areas. This causes the neighborhoods to become “islands” of higher temperatures relative to outlying areas. The program will identify these communities and Pirates Charities and Duquesne Light will coordinate with Tree Pittsburgh to strategically plant trees to assist.
“At Duquesne Light Company, we’ve powered our communities in southwestern Pennsylvania for more than 140 years, and we’re proud to partner with the Pirates to continue making a difference by investing in responsible environmental stewardship,” said Mark Kaplan, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, Duquesne Light Company. “Both organizations share a commitment to a greener and cleaner Pittsburgh region, and we look forward to working together to give back to the community we call home.”
“We are incredibly proud of this partnership with Duquesne Light and to be able to join with them on these very important year-round initiatives,” said Bob Nutting, Pirates Chairman. “We work year-after-year to utilize our unique public position to promote the importance of sustainable practices and improve on our efforts and make a true impact throughout PNC Park and the Pittsburgh community.”
In addition to the added program and maintaining the Urban Garden, the Pirates are extremely proud of the ongoing efforts through the “Let’s Go Bucs, Let’s Go Green.” program, the Club’s award-winning sustainability program. Since the launch of the program in 2008, the Pirates have recycled approximately six million pounds of material from PNC Park, successfully diverting it out of the waste stream.
Overall, the Pirates’ sustainability practices successfully divert more than 70-percent of the ballpark waste out of the waste stream each year, equivalent to more than 1,650 tons of materials. In 2020, the Pirates diversion rate of 75-percent earned the organization Major League Baseball’s Green Glove Award for the highest diversion rate in the National League Central.
In addition to recycled items, last year alone the Pirates donated more than 600 pounds of unused food from PNC Park to 412 Food Rescue, a program recovering food to feed the hungry in the community. The Pirates work with ballpark concessionaire Aramark to collect all leftover, untouched and frozen food from PNC Park and then 412 Food Rescue delivers the food to community food banks to distribute to those in need.