Wednesday, 05 December 2018

Image: Marine Conservation Society

Senior figures from leading sports venues, clubs and events from across the country gathered for the first-time to address the issue of single-use plastic pollution and explore the steps they can take to drastically reduce single-use plastic from their venues and events.

Over 25 organisations took part in the meeting held at Lord’s Cricket Ground, including Marylebone Cricket Club, Arsenal Football Club, Chelsea Football Club, UK Sport, England Hockey, All England Lawn Tennis Club and The Jockey Club.
The meeting, which was organised by the British Association for Sustainable Sport (BASIS), the Marine Conservation Society and the #OneLess campaign, provided attendees with an opportunity to learn more about the marine plastic problem and equipped attendees with the practical and technical knowledge they need to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastic from their premises.
“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 ZSL’s (Zoological Society of London) Marine Conservation Project Manager 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.”
At the meeting, sports venues, clubs and events heard from scientists, including the Zoological Society of London, the Marine Conservation Society and the Environment Agency, about the marine plastic problem and the impact of our excessive plastic consumption on marine life. They heard from trailblazer clubs, including Lord’s Cricket Ground, the Harrow Half Marathon and World Sailing, about the action they’ve taken to eliminate single-use plastic. And they received guidance from operations, ground safety and waste management specialists.
Participants discussed the value in a common approach to tackling the single-use plastic problem in sports venues and clubs. This included standardised guidelines to support the sector in collectively transitioning away from single-use plastic. There was energy for continuation of this forum and future dialogue between clubs and venues.
Lord’s Cricket Ground, the home of Marylebone Cricket Club, has been leading by example by ceasing all sales of plastic bottled water and installing 25 new bottle refill points around their venue. They have also worked alongside the Marine Conservation Society to phase out plastic straws. And they have 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 reduce bottled water and encourage refilling instead.
“BASIS exists to reduce the impacts of the sports sector by facilitating meetings and educating organisations, participants and fans. 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.” said Russell Seymour, Executive Director of BASIS and Sustainability Manager at Lord’s Cricket Ground.
With an upsurge in public concern around plastic pollution’s impact on our ocean and a growing number of Londoner’s choosing refillable bottles, sporting events are quickly looking for ways to ensure fans and athletes stay hydrated in a more sustainable manner.
Emma Cunningham, Marine Conservation Society, Senior Clean Seas Advocate (Business) said “In September, 15,000 people took part in our Great British Beach Clean – double the number in 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.”

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