Pittsburgh Pirates and Duquesne Light Company announced a partnership on Wednesday that will improve PNC Park’s sustainability practices and give back to underserved local communities.
The partnership continues the Pirates’ year-round commitment to sustainability and focuses on two key elements – the Duquesne Light Power Hitters program and support for PNC Park Urban Garden operated by Duquesne Light.
On Earth Day Thursday, Pirates and Duquesne Light will team up to reopen the PNC Park Suite Level urban garden. The groups will join forces with Grow Pittsburgh for a special planting event in the Urban Garden from 11 a.m. Volunteers from the front offices of Pirates and Duquesne Light, as well as local volunteers, prepare the area and plant the many herbs and vegetables that will grow in the park throughout the season.
The city garden uses 100 percent sustainable practices and supplies the baseball field with healthy food that is grown on site. Each season, the Urban Garden produces over 300 pounds of fresh produce that is used in menu option recipes available throughout PNC Park. The garden produces a variety of items hand selected by Aramark and PNC Parks Executive Chef Pastor Jimenez.
The Duquesne Light Power Hitters program is a one-of-a-kind business that will grow as the season progresses as Duquesne Light and Pirates Charities will work together to plant a tree for every pirate home run hit this season. The program will help underserved neighborhoods as research shows that these neighborhoods are more susceptible to “heat island influences”, which can lead to deterioration in water quality, increased energy consumption and impairment of health quality.
The city districts are urban areas with buildings, roads and other infrastructure that absorb the heat of the sun more strongly than naturally designed areas. As a result, the neighborhoods become “islands” with higher temperatures compared to remote areas. The program will identify these communities, and Pirates Charities and Duquesne Light will work with Tree Pittsburgh to strategically plant trees to help.
“At Duquesne Light Company, we have powered our communities in southwest Pennsylvania for more than 140 years. We are proud to work with the pirates to continue making a difference by investing in responsible environmental stewardship,” said Mark Kaplan, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of Duquesne Light Company. “Both organizations share a commitment to making Pittsburgh a greener, cleaner area and we look forward to working together to give back to the community we call home.”
“We are incredibly proud to partner with Duquesne Light and to be part of these very important year-round initiatives with them,” said Bob Nutting, chairman of Pirates. “We work year after year to leverage our unique public position to promote the importance of sustainable practices, enhance our efforts, and make a real impact across PNC Park and the Pittsburgh community.”
In addition to the additional program and the maintenance of the city garden, the pirates are extremely proud of the ongoing efforts by the “Let’s Go Bucs, Let’s Go Green”. Program, the club’s award-winning sustainability program. Since the program started in 2008, the pirates have recycled approximately six million pounds of material from PNC Park and successfully diverted it from the waste stream.
Overall, pirates’ sustainability practices successfully divert more than 70 percent of baseball waste from the waste stream each year, equivalent to more than 1,650 tons of material. In 2020, the 75 percent pirate diversion rate received the Major League Baseball organization’s Green Glove Award for the highest diversion rate in National League Central.
In addition to recycled items, the pirates donated more than 600 pounds of unused food from PNC Park to 412 Food Rescue, a food recovery program to feed the hungry in the community, last year alone. The pirates are working with baseball concessionaire Aramark to collect any leftover, pristine, and frozen food from PNC Park. 412 Food Rescue then delivers the food to local food banks to be distributed to those in need.