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Milwaukee Brewers announce landmark partnership with SC Johnson to limit plastic waste at Miller Park

Brewers pitchers Corey Knebel and Brent Suter have helped launch a first-of-its-kind partnership between the club and Racine-based SC Johnson to recycle the more than one million plastic cups discarded each season at Miller Park.

As part of the program, both sides will donate to an environmental organisation for every save recorded by a Brewers pitcher.

Starting in 2020, SC Johnson will collect cups -- the Brewers went through 1.3 million of them last year -- and turn them into bottles for its Scrubbing Bubbles products. It marks the first time that a U.S. pro sports team is linking a waste stream to a specific product. The cups will have SC Johnson’s logo and a description of the effort, directing fans to dispose of them in special containers around the ballpark.

In addition to the recycling effort, the ballclub and SC Johnson will donate to “Players for the Planet” for each Brewers save recorded. Suter has been partnered with that organisation for several years.

“It’s really a great step in the right direction,” Suter said. “People are becoming more aware and more concerned about their everyday actions.”

“Suter is, of course, our expert on environmental issues,” Knebel added. “He has definitely changed a lot of guys’ perspectives in the clubhouse, especially mine.”

Last spring, as part of his “Strike Out Waste” effort, Suter distributed glass water bottles to teammates and encouraged them to stop drinking from single-use plastic bottles. Last April, in conjunction with Earth Day, the Brewers announced that they were replacing plastic straws with paper straws at Miller Park.

Now Milwaukee is the latest partner of SC Johnson, which has undertaken an effort of its own to tackle plastic waste. Since 2015, the company has used 100% post-consumer recycled plastic for its Windex line, and last year it announced that Windex packaging would be made entirely from 100% recycled ocean-bound plastic.

“I am so thrilled that people are becoming more and more aware of this issue, because it is a really complicated issue to solve,” said Johnson, a fifth-generation leader of the company. “It is going to take a multitude of solutions. It is going to take government regulation. It’s going to take businesses to innovate. It’s going to take people to change their behaviour. And it’s going to take a systemic change to our supply change as companies. None of that is going to happen without society as a whole being aware of the problem and thinking about how to do something about it.”