Fresh from unveiling their new LEED Gold hockey stadium, the Pittsburgh Penguins are cementing their reputation as one of the greenest teams in the NHL. This month the hockey team kicked off their new recycling campaign, which will focus on getting hockey fans to recycle their cans and bottles when they attend this week’s 2011 NHL Winter Classic game.
Specifically targetting tailgate parties, the campaign aims to “clear the zone of recyclable aluminum cans, glass containers, and plastic bottles and cups that fill Heinz Field parking lots.” This initiative marks the first time that the NHL has collaborated with local environmental organizations to spread awareness about recycling to hockey fans.
Making up one-third of Pittsburgh’s major league franchises, it is refreshing to see a well-known sporting team use their influence and publicity to bring to light the importance of recycling. Fellow Pittsburgh teams, the Steelers and the Pirates, have all done their part in recent years with The Steelers’s new pre-game recycling activities treating tailgaters to a solar powered tire pump. Meanwhile the Pirates are undertaking a comprehensive sustainability program that includes food waste composting.
The city of Pittsburgh is supporting the Penguins’ efforts with local aluminum industry giant Alcoa, who is already heavily involved in recycling activities. The change is all part of a long-running, city-wide effort that involves Pittburgh’s local government and a consortium of environmental groups, businesses, educational institutions and non-profits. It is hoped that the project will promote long-term economic growth while embracing the environment.
“Sporting events provide a great opportunity to reinforce the importance of recycling, and education is a key component of this campaign,” said Dave Mazza, regional director of the Pennsylvania Resources Council, in a statement. “PRC and its campaign partners are encouraging people to recycle when they’re away from home by making the activity easy and convenient.”
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