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4/19/2013 2:40 P.M. ET

Pirates set to celebrate Earth Day and success of nationally recognized "Let's Go Bucs. Let's Go Green." program

The Pittsburgh Pirates are set to celebrate Earth Day 2013 on Sunday, April 21, along with the successes of the organization's award-winning "Let's Go Bucs. Let's Go Green" program.

This Sunday, all children 14 and younger on hand to see the Pirates take on the Atlanta Braves at 1:35 p.m. will receive a Pirates "Let's Go Bucs. Let's Go Green." eco-friendly rally towel from PeopleTowels, courtesy of Waste Management. The rally towel is made from 100 percent organic, Fair Trade cotton, and environmentally friendly dyes.

Inside PNC Park, the Pirates will display new in-park educational components promoting the "Let's Go Bucs. Let's Go Green." initiative, which focuses on recycling, conservation and awareness. The components include a new recycling center located on the River Walk, video messages from Pirates players on the PNC Park video board, as well as additional signage throughout the ballpark. In addition, Pirates partner Waste Management will set up a large display promoting the importance of recycling prior to the game on Federal Street.

The "Let's Go Bucs. Let's Go Green." initiative now successfully diverts more than 65 percent of PNC Park waste materials out of the landfill, the highest of any ballpark east of the Rocky Mountains. In 2012 alone, the team recycled of approximately 66 tons of glass, 25 tons of aluminum, 54 tons of plastic, 26 tons of paper, 130 tons of cardboard, 17 tons of used cooking oil, 33 tons of yard waste and 91 tons of other recyclable materials.

The Pirates ballpark-wide composting program, one of the first in Major League Baseball, collected more than 646 tons of compostable materials in 2012 alone. This collection of organic material helps in slowing down the production of methane, a greenhouse gas that is generated when food and organic material decompose in the landfill.

In addition, the Pirates have taken significant steps to cut down on the ballpark's energy consumption, saving more than 1.1 million KWH per year, which is equivalent to the energy consumption of 400 people each year. The Pirates also continue to utilize the team's unique public platform to raise awareness of the importance of implementing sustainable business practices and greening initiatives.

The Pirates greening initiatives were nationally recognized by the National Resource Defense Council, which last month honored Pirates Chairman, Bob Nutting, for his leadership in the sports industry's movement to adopt sustainable business practices.

"Earth Day is a great reminder that it is our responsibility to do as much as we can to protect our environment," said Nutting. "The Pittsburgh region is fortunate to be surrounded by such natural beauty and it is up to all of us to help preserve it for future generations."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.