Sporting venues team up to show single-use plastics the red card

Sporting organisations including Arsenal and Chelsea Football Clubs, England hockey, Lancashire and Derbyshire Cricket Clubs and the Jockey Club have taken the first steps in working to remove single-use plastics from their match day operations.

A dozen sporting bodies and venues met at Lord’s Cricket Ground for an event organised by MCS, the British Association for Sustainable Sport (BASIS), the #OneLess organisation and ZSL to discuss ways to eliminate single-use plastic in sport.

Delegates heard from trailblazing organisations including Lord’s Cricket Ground, the Harrow Half Marathon and World Sailing, about the action they’ve taken to eliminate single-use plastic.

Among the questions raised were the changes that would need to be made in areas like ground safety and operational waste management as venues moved towards eliminating single-use plastic. The value in a common approach to tackling the single-use plastic problem in sports venues and clubs was discussed, with standardised guidelines to support the sector in collectively transitioning away from single-use plastic agreed as being needed.

Emma Cunningham, MCS Senior Clean Seas Advocate (Business) said “In September, 15,000 people took part in our Great British Beach Clean – double the number from 2017. The public really do understand how our throwaway lives are impacting on our oceans and beaches. Many of those would have been sports fans, and they will expect the venues they attend to be cutting out single -use plastic. This could be a watershed moment for the sports industry – being seen to lead the way in the wider events industry.”

“Sports clubs and venues get through vast amounts of single-use plastic, which can end up polluting our ocean and marine ecosystems for hundreds of years.” said Fiona Llewellyn, Marine Conservation Project Manager at the Zoological Society of London, and campaign manager for #OneLess. “Yesterday’s meeting empowered clubs and venues to take action for the ocean and showed that there are practical steps they can take to reduce their dependence on single-use plastic. We look forward to continuing to work with this group, supporting them to implement positive changes in their events.”

Russell Seymour, Executive Director BASIS, said “Convenience and speed of service has meant that sports events have relied on single-use plastic for a long time. The problems caused by single-use use plastic have become clear and sports events have a role to play in encouraging sustainable behaviour. Our event today, organised in collaboration with #OneLess and the Marine Conservation Society has demonstrated the positive impact the sports sector can have and should have in the future”.

Lord’s Cricket Ground, has been leading by example by ceasing all sales of plastic bottled water and installing 25 new drinking water refill points around their venue. They have worked with MCS to phase out plastic straws, and they recently launched a reusable cup scheme, where each cup can be washed and reused over 100 times. Lord’s is a member of the #OneLess campaign’s pioneer network, a community of London-based organisations that are taking steps to eliminate bottled water and encourage refilling instead.

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