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Green Sports Day: Waste Management Phoenix Open

Waste Management Phoenix Open
The Zero Waste Event

The PGA TOUR’s Waste Management Phoenix Open is internationally recognized and as being one of the largest Zero Waste events in the world. Since 2013, all tournament waste – more than 6.4 million pounds – has either been recycled, composted, donated, reused or used to create energy.

Hoffman Teeing of 17

Vendors, sponsors and attendees are at the heart of all successful Zero Waste initiatives, and must show commitment before, during and after the tournament. The tournament host – The Thunderbirds – along with all tournament sponsors and vendors, use only recyclable, compostable or reusable materials.  Fans and players play an important role, correctly placing materials into either recycling or compost bins. All of this ensures the material is put to its next best use.

To reduce food waste, Waste Management works with tournament vendors to recover unused food and donate it to local non-profits. In 2018, 24,620 pounds of food was donated.

Compost and Recycle Bin

UL provides a transparent third-party verification of the tournament’s waste diversion and has done so since 2013. UL reviews the tournament’s procurement information and every weight ticket to understand where materials are initially delivered and where all waste streams are processed down the line.

Zero isn’t just associated with waste. The Waste Management Phoenix Open has reported its carbon footprint since 2010, and aims to mitigate its impact on climate change as a carbon neutral event. The tournament purchases 100% renewable energy from the local utility company, which powers all generators plugged into the grid, most of the golf cart fleet, and other power needs. The sun continues to be a great source of power for solar-powered and smart energy compactors and biodiesel is used in generators that aren’t plugged in. Reuse, recycling and composting avoids emissions associated with end-of-life and manufacturing products out of virgin materials. All greenhouse gas emissions from remaining tournament operations, professional and amateur player travel, vendor travel and volunteer travel are offset.

Solar Compactors

Looking beyond zero waste, the tournament recognizes that water is a huge issue to the desert southwest. The Waste Management Phoenix Open implements conservation measures to ensure water is used responsibly and limits pressures on the municipal water supply. Hand-washing stations use hand sanitizer instead of water, and Waste Management captures between 5,000 and 6,000 gallons of grey water each year. Since 2011, more than 37,800 gallons of water from cooking and cleaning have been reused in the portable toilets.

18 Water Feature

But is it enough? Working with Bonneville Environmental Foundation as a Change the Course sponsor, Waste Management and The Thunderbirds continue to support the restoration of Northern Arizona rivers and streams. This collaboration through the years, also supported by The Thunderbirds, M Culinary, Kohler and Coca-Cola, has restored 236 million gallons to the Verde River and other freshwater ecosystems in Arizona since 2015, including 75 million gallons of water in 2018. The Waste Management Phoenix Open is a water positive event.

In 2018, the Waste Management Phoenix Open maintained Evergreen Inspire status with the Council for Responsible Sport and achieved its second Golf Environment Organization (GEO) certification. The Waste Management Phoenix Open is the first PGA TOUR tournament to achieve both certifications and remains the largest event ever to achieve this level of recognition.

greenest show

“The Waste Management Phoenix Open continues to be the leader in producing responsible sporting events,” said Shelley Villalobos, managing director of the Council for Responsible Sport. “This event continues to prove what is possible when groups work together toward a common goal.”

Compost and Recycle Bins

The 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open, to be held January 28th – February 3rd, is a platform for highlighting Waste Management’s sustainability initiatives. Whether attending the tournament in person or watching at home, Waste Management hopes to inspire fans to ‘think green’, learn more about wasting less, live an environmentally responsible life and to pass on what they’ve learned in their communities, homes and businesses.

Green Sports Day: Pittsburgh Pirates

In May 2018, the Pittsburgh Pirates Organization opened a patio garden on the suite level partnered with Rivendale Farms and Levy Restaurants.  This is the ballpark’s first sustainable garden that will provide fresh grown herbs and vegetables handpicked during harvest season to be utilized in the guests’ favorite dishes.   A recycled steel, 375-gallon tank to collect rainwater was installed on the patio to water the garden.

Volunteers from the Pirates front office staff with the assistance of Grow Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania’s Conservancy filled the containers with a soil blend from Agrecycle Inc. who composts our organics for PNC Park.  The Rivendale Patio Garden is the latest demonstration of the Pirates Organization commitment to sustainability through the Club’s nationally recognized “Let’s Go Green, Let’s Go Bucs!”


Green Sports Day: UVA

UVA took third nationwide in the total recycling category while coming in 10th nationwide in the total diversion category. Overall, fans, student volunteers and UVA staffers halved the amount of waste headed to the landfill compared to last year’s challenge results.” Last year the Cavaliers diverted 54.6% of waste from landfills and this year they improved over 20%, increasing the diversion rate to 76.7%!



Last basketball season, UVA sustainability volunteers got creative at the 2018 GameDay Recycling Challenge, diverting 87% of waste from landfills while keeping our (foam) fingers clean! After the game, student volunteers collected hundreds of Aetna foam fingers that got left behind. The foam fingers were then boxed up and returned for use at future sporting events.



This past spring, UVA sustainability worked with Aramark and Facilities Management to coordinate the first-ever waste audit at a home baseball game. During the home game against UNC, the waste audit provided promising results recording a diversion rate of 89.23%! Information gathered from this audit will be used this upcoming season in an attempt to have a Zero-Waste Baseball Season.


This past Sunday (9/20), UVA sustainability worked with Facilities Management to carry out the first waste-audit at a woman’s soccer match and it is safe to say the Cavaliers got in done both on and off the pitch. During a 5-1 win over Wake Forest, the waste audit proved the event to be Zero-Waste, having a diversion rate of 90.98%. Another waste audit will be carried out on Tuesdays (10/2) home men’s soccer match against Wright State. We hope to use this information in an attempt to make the rest of the soccer season go zero waste.

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