As part of its NHL Green sustainability initiative, the National Hockey League announced Thursday that it has joined with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Heinz Field and League partners to make the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1 an environmentally friendly fan event.
Having launched NHL Green one year ago with a panel discussion on sustainability at Boston’s Fenway Park in conjunction with the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, the NHL is endeavoring to ensure that the latest edition of the New Year’s Day tradition has as little impact upon the environment as possible by purchasing carbon offsets, stocking merchandise stands with reusable bags and redistributing prepared food that goes unsold.
In addition, the Pennsylvania Resources Council and its partners will collect recyclables at tailgating parties outside Heinz Field, and the Port Authority of Allegheny County, with support from Pepsi MAX, will offer transportation options to the game that will reduce fans’ carbon footprint.
The League will purchase carbon offsets for energy usage at Heinz Field through Bonneville Environmental Foundations, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit environmental organization. Purchase of the offsets will add renewable energy to power grids and fund solar power systems for schools and public buildings. All of the renewable sources of BEF’s carbon offsets meet rigorous environmental criteria developed by three leading environmental organizations, including The Natural Resources Defense Council.
At official merchandise stands inside Heinz Field, plastic bags will be replaced with 40,000 reusable commemorative bags, distributed free with purchase. The League unveiled similar reusable bags for the 2010 Stanley Cup Final at both host arenas and at the NHL Powered by Reebok Store in New York. Heinz Field will continue to recycle all cardboard, bottles, cans and light bulbs within the confines of the stadium. The venue features all-inclusive recycling bins for materials. Waste Management and Greenstar have partnered to sort and separate.
As part of the NHL’s unprecedented partnership with Rock and Wrap It Up! that enlists all 30 clubs in the fight against hunger, Aramark and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank will coordinate the pickup and distribution of prepared but unsold concession food on New Year’s Day at Heinz Field. To date, NHL clubs have provided more than 50,000 meals while keeping more than 65,000 pounds of waste from reaching landfills. The Penguins and Aramark have responded in full force since the program’s initiation – the Pens led all clubs with 12,000 pounds of food donated and 9,300 meals provided as of Dec. 30.
In addition to those game-day initiatives, the League and its Winter Classic partners work year-round to promote responsible stewardship of the planet.
The Consol Energy Center, the new home of the Penguins, is the NHL’s first arena to achieve LEED Gold certification. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), established by the U.S. Green Building Council, is the nationally accepted standard for the design, construction and operation of green buildings.
This season, Pittsburgh Public Works' recycling division installed receptacles next to each trash can on streets surrounding Heinz Field to combat the usual amounts of game-day litter and offer an option for recycling.