Olympic gold medalist Hannah Mills and the Environment Agency today called on sports organizations across the country to step up their efforts to tackle plastic waste.
Sports clubs, venues and event organizers across England are getting new advice on reducing plastic waste at events and stadiums to prevent plastic pollution.
Around 12 million tons of plastic end up in our environment every year – that’s the equivalent of one garbage truck load per minute. 50% of the plastic produced is single-use plastic that only lasts a few minutes before being thrown away. It is estimated that up to 750,000 plastic bottles can be generated per piece at major sporting events.
Environmental Agency guidelines urge the sports industry to address avoidable plastics by introducing water refill stations, minimizing food packaging, providing more recycling bins, and more.
The guide also points to the Big Plastic Pledge website – a global campaign founded by Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Champion Hannah Mills – which aims to address the plastic waste problem and eradicate single-use plastic in sports.
Hannah Mills said:
Through the use and unification of communities through the power and reach of sport, through the athletes, events, fans,> volunteers and brands, the lasting effect is almost unimaginable.
I encourage everyone to commit to reducing their single-use plastic consumption with the Big Plastic> Pledge.
Project leader Hannah Amor from the Environment Agency’s plastics and sustainability team said:
Experts tell us that 50% of the plastic produced is intended for single-use items – things that are only used for a few moments and then thrown away. This is detrimental to our planet.
The sports industry is in a unique position to influence millions of people around the world by leading and leading by example on sustainability issues.
By minimizing the avoidable use of plastic, industry can help reduce the impact plastic has on our planet, reduce its carbon footprint and contribute to the climate crisis – potentially saving money at the same time.
The guide also allows readers to find out about challenging suppliers, the waste hierarchy (avoid, reduce, reuse, recycle) and the path / life cycle of a plastic bottle.
There are also case studies describing how companies achieved their goals to reduce avoidable plastic, including an example from the New Forest Marathon where plastic beverage bottles for runners were replaced with paper cups that are collected and recycled. Runners who drop rubbish outside of the designated zones will be disqualified for dropping it in order to convey the meaning to the participants.
Andy Daish, Event Director at the New Forest Marathon said:
Every organizer is responsible for protecting the environment he uses. In addition, we are blessed with a perfect platform to communicate these key messages to the visitors of the event.
The New Forest Marathon is passionate about protecting the wonderful and diverse habitat and raising awareness of broader environmental problems. We are working closely with key stakeholders to ensure we have no impact on the local habitat and hope the event will plant a seed for broader behavior change.
Ceri Rees, director of the organizer Wild Running, said:
We encourage our participants to take responsibility for bringing their own collapsible cups as part of their racing set to avoid wasting the cups at the feeding station. We should all be there in the long term and hold the organizers accountable for their racing equipment.
Barry Hopkins, Director of Sporting Events UK commented:
We have looked at our carbon footprint and plastic waste for the past few years. We used reusable, low plastic timing chips that can withstand hundreds of thousands of active scans. Many of our signage items are produced so that we can reuse them at future events.
As an industry, it is important that we help each other with best practices and drive initiatives to reduce waste, especially the plastics used. We continue to work with all of our suppliers to see how they can reduce plastic waste in their supply chains and be greener in their approaches.
The new guide was created on behalf of the Interreg Preventing Plastic Pollution (PPP) project, a cross-channel partnership of 18 expert organizations that identifies plastic hotspots and implements targeted, effective solutions and alternatives, and embeds behavioral changes in local communities and businesses.
The PPP project supports the environmental agency’s drive to promote better environmental practices that lead to a reduction in plastic waste, and helps meet the goals and commitments set out in its five-year EA2025 plan to create a better place for people, wildlife and the environment as well as the government’s 25-year environmental plan.
Scientists have found plastic everywhere, from Everest (the highest point on earth) to the Mariana Trench (the lowest point on earth). Plastic has even been found in the Arctic and Antarctic.
Wildlife of all sizes has been found to eat and become entangled in plastic. Ongoing research has also shown that humans consume and breathe plastic in their daily lives.
The full guide covers how to avoid plastic pollution
Preventing Plastic Pollution (PPP) is a EUR 14 million project of the EU INTERREG VA France (Channel) England Program, which is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and operates mainly at seven pilot sites: Brest Harbor, Bay of Douarnenez, Bay of Veys, Poole Harbor and the Medway, Tamar and Great Ouse estuaries.
Partners are the Environment Agency, Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Queen Mary University of London, LABOCEA Conseil, Expertise et Analyzes, Syndicat mixed public institution for the management and development of the Bay of Douarnenez, Office Français De La Biodiversité, Iroise Marine Natural Park, Brest Métropole, National Center for Scientific Research, Manche Council, French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea, The Rivers Trust, Elorn Basin Syndicate, ACTIMAR, Brest ‘Goal, Westcountry Rivers Trust, South East Rivers Trust, Plymouth City Council