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Astros going earth friendly in 2008

Astros going earth friendly in 2008

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Along with a "Go Astros" rally cry at Minute Maid Park this year, you may also hear shouts of "Go Green." In this age of environmental awareness, Houston's baseball team is keeping up with modern times with its own unique initiative.

The Astros recently announced that they will launch an "Astros Play Green" campaign on Earth Day on April 22. The campaign, building off a club initiative that began last summer, will strive to create awareness regarding environmental initiatives in the City of Houston.

The Astros' mission is to create a positive environmental platform at Minute Maid Park and throughout Texas through a commitment to earth-friendly efforts to enhance the quality of life for Astros fans.

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Astros players will wear green Astros baseball caps during the game against the San Diego Padres on April 22, and an exposition with local earth-friendly vendors will take place before the 7:05 p.m. CT game. The first 10,000 fans will receive a green cap with the Astros Play Green logo courtesy of Waste Management and a canvas eco-tote bag compliments of NYMEX.

Astros employees will participate by wearing green T-shirts with the Astros Play Green mission statement on the back and the Astros Play Green logos on the front.

Catcher Brad Ausmus and infielder Mark Loretta will be the club's spokesmen for the Astros Play Green campaign. Loretta joined the Astros' front-office staff and Waste Management in a recycling campaign that was announced last July. The campaign, still in effect today, included elements such as recycling grease that would later become fuel, using "green" fluorescent bulbs in all possible light fixtures and the presence of 125 recycle bins throughout the ballpark.

Recycle bins were placed in the Astros' front office for employees to recycle paper, plastic, aluminum and cardboard. Additionally, Astros groundskeepers use only eco-friendly safe chemicals on the field, including seaweed-based fertilizer. All printer toner cartridges in the ballpark are recycled. The Astros recycle an average of three tons of cardboard, plastic and aluminum per game.

The Astros Play Green campaign will include several environmental initiatives for the Astros and Minute Maid Park in 2008, which include:

• The club will compost ballpark infield and outfield grass cuttings to use as fertilizer.
• Sales collateral and other paper products such as season-ticket brochures, mini-plan brochures, group sales brochures, suite rental postcards, napkins, paper towels and pocket schedules will be printed on partial post-consumer recycled materials.
• All light bulbs used in the ballpark will be recycled.
• Organic vegetables and ingredients will be used at salad concept stands.
• The Astros are changing the manual paper towel dispensers in restrooms to automatic paper towel dispensers in order to save on the amount of paper used.

Houston Astros AT&T Conference Center at Minute Maid Park is also contributing to the campaign. The conference center hosts hundreds of events and more than 1,500 groups and companies during each calendar year. The center provides each event and meeting with menu options that source meats and produce from local Texas farms and ranches. Clients also use post-consumer recyclable or reusable service ware in all meal services.

The popular "lunch box items" that meeting clients receive will be served in reusable totes for consumers. In striving for sustainability, the Astros and ARAMARK have created special services that utilize local resources for products as often as possible. All waste generated in the conference center facility is monitored and evaluated.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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