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Monthly Archives: September 2018

Time for Pro Sports to Ditch Plastic

By AARON SKIRBOLL, Sierra Club Magazine

PHOTO BY ROIBU/ISTOCK

PHOTO BY ROIBU/ISTOCK

Even in the greenest cities in the United States, sporting events are sure to feature the distribution of tens of thousands of single-use plastic water bottles. Bottled water has become the top-selling beverage in the United States (passing soda in 2016), and sports fans are guzzling it down. According to Waste Management, each year the country’s top 200 stadiums draw more than 180 million visitors, and “the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL generate a combined 35,000 metric tons of CO2 each year from their fans’ waste.” Add to that college sports—NCAA reported 36 million–plus for college football Saturdays alone last season. Add to this basketball, track and field, soccer, baseball, high school sports, with each venue’s concessions relying heavily on disposable single-use plastics.

Worldwide more than a million plastic bottles are produced every minute. Last year, according to Bloomberg BNA, 55 billion water bottles were made in the U.S. alone. According to the EPA and the journal Science Advances, less than 10 percent of all plastic is recycled.

To their credit, many teams have started recycling on a large scale. In 2017, the Seattle Mariners recycled 96 percent of Safeco Field waste. While laudable, recycling should remain the last option. The real solution lies in changing consumer habits so as not to produce the waste in the first place.

Sports waste is a vast problem, but the solution to the plastic water bottle scourge is readily available: Water bottle refill stations (also known as hydration stations) are essentially modernized water fountains, featuring a single or multiple faucets. And they’re poised to play a big role in the sport venues of the future. Many are already making the switch.

Read the full article here.

Sport Sustainability Journal Interview with Patrick Gasser, UEFA

By Matthew Campelli, Sport Sustainability Journal

After encouraging fans to offset their own carbon footprint at Euro 2016, UEFA will pick up the whole tab for the 2020 tournament. The governing body’s head of social responsibility talks to SSJ.

2018.09.27-Patrick Gasser interview SSJ-IMAGE

WHENEVER A COUNTRY OR CITY BIDS TO HOST A MAJOR SPORTING EVENT, the decision is usually justified by citing the economic prosperity, profile boost and opportunity to create social change that such an event will bring. But the fact remains that there will almost certainly be a negative impact on the environment.

The building of new stadiums and surrounding infrastructure (not to mention the maintenance and operation thereafter) is responsible for the lion’s share of carbon emissions generated by a sporting event or tournament. However, more often than not, the carbon footprint left by spectators often accounts for a significant proportion of negative impacts.

UEFA has recognised this. After attempting to engage fans by asking them to offset their own emissions during the 2016 European Championships in France, the European football governing body has pledged to pick up the whole tab during the next edition in 2020 and offset the emissions of all fans travelling throughout the tournament.

It’s a commitment that is expected to cost UEFA up to €450,000. During Euro 2016, spectators, fans and guests accounted for 19% (539,000 tonnes) of the 2.8 million tonnes of carbon generated by the tournament. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the competition, the next edition will be played in 12 host cities across Europe – London, Munich, Rome, Baku, Saint Petersburg, Bucharest, Amsterdam, Dublin, Bilbao, Budapest, Glasgow and Copenhagen – meaning that spectators will potentially travel more, therefore increasing the carbon impact of the tournament.

Read the full article here.

First Dutch Cycle Path Made from Recycled Plastic Opens

By Rachel Cooper, Climate Action

The world’s first cycle path made from recycled plastic has opened in the Netherlands.

Photo Credit: PlasticRoad

Photo Credit: PlasticRoad

 

The world’s first cycle path made from recycled plastic has opened in the Netherlands.

The 30-metre bike path is 100 per cent circular and is made from recycled bottles, cups and packaging.

The path is made of plastic equivalent to more than 218,000 cups and is expected to have a three time longer lifetime than an asphalt alternative.

The PlasticRoad is sustainable and has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than a traditional road.

The prefabricated production, the light weight and the modular design of the PlasticRoad has resulted in the construction time being reduced by 70 per cent, this means there is a reduction of transport movement, decreasing the environmental impact further.

The PlasticRoad is a collaboration between KWS, a VolkerWessels company, Wavin and Total.

Anne Koudstaal and Simon Jorritsma, the inventors of the PlasticRoad, said: “This first pilot is a big step towards a sustainable and future-proof road made of recycled plastic waste. When we invented the concept, we didn’t know how to build a PlasticRoad, now we know.”

In addition to this, a second cycle path will be implemented in another Dutch city, Giethoorn, Overijssel. The plan is to extend this across the country to reduce even more plastic waste.

Recently, there has been a movement towards transforming plastic waste into useful every day products. Supermarket chain Tesco have turned their plastic waste into a car park and waste at the Volvo Ocean Race was converted into benches.

Read the full article here.

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