Volvo Ocean Race guides sports events away from single-use plastic

Report demonstrates practical, actionable advice that event organisers and venue managers can implement to reduce their reliance on plastic

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As well as publishing the guide, Volvo Ocean Race has its own extensive sustainability strategy

A comprehensive guide showing sport event organisers how to reduce or replace plastic has been published by Volvo Ocean Race.

The 40-page document, which was compiled with the United Nations and the race’s sustainability partners 11th Hour Racing and Mirpuri Foundation, gives practical, actionable advice to move venue managers and event planners away from their reliance on single-use plastics.

Turning the Tide on Plastics at Sporting Events is broken up into five main sections:

1. Rethink
2. Refuse
3. Reduce
4. Replace; and
5. Recover

The first stage, says the report, is to single out single-use plastics (with a particular focus on food and hydration) to see where plastic can be avoided or replaced. The second stage is to “take affirmative action” to make sure items like straws, condiment sachets and plastic bags are eradicated from operations.

Single-use plastic action plan

Following that, the report offers guidance on how to reduce plastic. However, the bulk of the report is information about how plastics can ultimately be replaced.

Replacing disposable water bottles with refillable units, implementing a reusable cup system, using reusable servicewear, and developing a robust compostable and bio plastics strategy were among the key takeaways.

Sport event organisers are also urged to rethink the need (and use of plastic) for ticketing, fan paraphernalia, lanyards, competitor bibs, signage and “pretty litter” like confetti and balloons.

According to the report, sporting events can “achieve a drastically reduced plastic footprint with commitment, thoughtful planning and follow through”.

Within the guide was a list of 10 quick tips for reducing or eradicating plastic

“With the potential for sporting events to generate hundreds of thousands of pieces of otherwise avoidable single-use plastic, the pressure is on to clean up quick and to use sport’s global reach to raise awareness and action among our competitors, fans, spectators and supply chain.”

Meegan Jones, sustainability manager for Volvo Ocean Race, highlighted the race’s own extensive sustainability programme, and its aim to “create awareness” and mobilise businesses, governments and individuals into action to “turn the tide on plastic”.

“This guide has been produced to share our knowledge and learnings on how to reduce single-use plastic at sporting events,” she said.

Click here to read the full guide.

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