HOUSTON -- Astros season-ticket holders will have the option of showing up at Minute Maid Park next season needing only a credit card to pass through the turnstiles.

In an effort to simplify going to Astros games and management of season tickets, and to help save the environment, the Astros will give season-ticket holders the option to have paperless tickets next season. Instead of producing paper tickets, fans can have the tickets stored on a credit card, which would be swiped at the gate when they enter Minute Maid Park.

Details can be found at www.astros.com/paperless.

By choosing to go paperless, fans will be supporting the Astros' Play Green campaign, which has a mission to create a positive environmental platform at Minute Maid Park and in the community through a commitment to Earth-friendly efforts to enhance the quality of life for fans.

"It's a neat thing because it's so easy and it helps with our Play Green environmental campaign," Astros president of business operations Pam Gardner said. "We're really excited about this. It really is the wave of the future."

With paperless ticketing, fans who can't attend a specific game can easily forward their tickets for free to friends, family and anyone else.

Season-ticket holders who choose to go paperless will get an Astros cap, 15 percent off their next purchase at Astros.com Shop and a commemorative Opening Day ticket framed in Lucite.

The Astros took part in the program last year on a limited basis, but they are hoping for more participation in 2010. The team will include a mailer detailing the program when season-ticket invoices are mailed out Thursday.

"People that used it last year loved it, and we're trying to push more of it," Gardner said.

Long-time Astros season-ticket holder Dennis Thonsgard was one of a handful of fans to use the paperless system last season, and he gave it his full endorsement. Thonsgard, who is the general manager for Powell Service Division, often forwarded tickets to co-workers and clients.

"Once we got into it and learned it, it was quite easy," said Thonsgard, who has had season tickets since the first year of Minute Maid Park in 2000. "You can simply download them and forward them. We would use it again, yes."

Astros fans can make deposits on 2010 season tickets at astros.com. And beginning next year, for every two seats fans purchase in View Deck I, View Deck II or in select Terrace Deck sections, they will receive two season tickets for free.