Declare “War on Waste: by Managing Big Events Sustainably
As Singapore – with its super-clean image – is struggling to minimise and manage waste at major events, without engaging an army of cleaners, we look at two examples, one from Canada and one from Australia where waste is being managed at sporting events in a sustainable fashion. Ken Hickson recalls the wise words from the founder of CleanEvent Australia, Craig Lovett, who’s managed Formula One and Olympic events, that the best thing you can do is manage what’s taken on the site – by caterers and spectators – to reduce what has to be cleaned up and collected. Read More
BUSINESS WIRE (20 January 2015):
–Waste Management Announces Second Annual Sustainability Challenge Winner
RBC Canadian Open Ranks Highest in Overall Sustainability among Participating PGA TOUR Golf Tournaments
Waste Management (NYSE: WM) announced today that the RBC Canadian Open was named the winner of the second annual Sustainability Challenge, a contest sponsored by Waste Management to encourage all PGA TOUR tournaments to engage in and advance sustainable practices at their respective events. With this distinction, the RBC Canadian Open joins the ranks of the Sustainability Challenge inaugural winner, the Shell Houston Open and the Waste Management Phoenix Open as PGA TOUR tournaments that demonstrate the value of responsible sustainability practices.
The RBC Canadian Open received the highest cumulative score for Materials Management, Natural Resources Tracking and Conservation, Economic Impact and Overall Sustainability. Waste Management sustainability experts scored participating tournaments’ submissions and were pleased to note that ninety-one percent of the 22 PGA TOUR tournaments that submitted applications have a recycling program in place and track their diversion of waste from landfills. As the winner, RBC Canadian Open leadership will attend the upcoming Waste Management Phoenix Open and Waste Management’s fifth annual Executive Sustainability Forum.
RBC Canadian Open employs numerous sustainable practices at the carbon-neutral tournament including: reducing waste by diverting it from landfills and into recycling and organics facilities; providing sorting stations where spectators bring their waste and volunteers place it in proper recycling or composting receptacles; donating unused food to local food banks; offering sustainable transportation options and more. The Royal Montreal Golf Club, home of the 2014 RBC Canadian Open, is also certified as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary golf course, a designation earned for its certification in six categories: Environmental Planning, Chemical Use Reduction & Safety, Water Conservation, Water Quality Management, Wildlife & Habitat Management, and Outreach & Education.
“We are committed to making the RBC Canadian Open a green event,” said Bill Paul, chief championship officer and tournament director of the RBC Canadian Open. “We are proud to work with RBC and all of our partners to ensure our tournament continues to be a positive example of best practices to reduce the event’s environmental impact within the markets we conduct the championship.”
“As a zero waste event, the award-winning Waste Management Phoenix Open has set the ‘green’ standard for sustainability in sports,” said Jim Trevathan, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Waste Management. “The Sustainability Challenge provides Waste Management the opportunity to recognize the successes of a growing number of PGA TOUR tournaments like the RBC Canadian Open that are expanding their green initiatives so that others will continue to be encouraged to ‘green’ the game of golf.”
As Waste Management Phoenix Open title sponsor, Waste Management continues to advance innovative programs that dramatically increase environmental and social responsibility at the tournament. The Waste Management Phoenix Open, a zero waste event also known as the “Greenest Show on Grass,” has become a major platform for highlighting Waste Management’s sustainability initiatives, including the four Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.
Through the tournament’s “Zero Waste Challenge,” Waste Management successfully diverted 100 percent of waste away from landfills in 2013 and 2014. This year, Waste Management continues its Zero Waste Challenge as part of its company-wide effort to manage 20 million tons of recyclable materials annually by the year 2020 and extract more value from all of the materials the company manages.
ABOUT WASTE MANAGEMENT
Waste Management, based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. Through its subsidiaries, the company provides collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services. It is also a leading developer, operator and owner of landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States. The company’s customers include residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers throughout North America. To learn more information about Waste Management, visit www.wm.com or www.thinkgreen.com.
Music festivals go cleaner, greener
Melinda Ham for Sydney Morning Herald (17 February 2015):
Event organisers co-opt fans and artists to make open-air gigs more sustainable.
Every summer, tens of thousands of people across Australia revel in live outdoor music, staying for a day or pitching their tents for a weekend. When the music dies, however, what’s left may be less appealing – a churned-up landscape with tonnes of food and drink packaging, a sea of discarded possessions and overflowing portable toilets.
Environmental researcher Laura Wynne is an avid festival-goer and enjoyed the Falls Festival at Lorne, in Victoria, over New Year. An earlier Falls Festival, in Tasmania a couple of years ago, was not such a good experience.
“As we left the festival on New Year’s Day, the scene was almost apocalyptic. The beautiful hills of Marion Bay were covered in debris – everything from beer cans and chip packets to abandoned camp chairs, tarpaulins and tents,” she says.
“Seeing this fallout first-hand really brought home the need for action to improve the music industry’s impact.”
While there is no strong data to measure the carbon footprint of festival audiences in Australia, Wynne expects it would be similar in Britain, where a not-for-profit group has found festivals generate 43 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions for the entire music industry.
There is hope for change though, says Wynne, a research consultant for the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS).
Wynne has completed a report on the barriers and opportunities for a greener music scene, and says “audiences and artists both care a lot about the environment and want to take action”.
There are several real and perceived barriers to greening the industry, she says. “There is a perception that taking action on environmental issues is complicated, expensive and time consuming. This is not necessarily true.”
But Wynne concedes that changing business practices is likely to be a challenge for the industry. Some initiatives may deliver a long-term return on investment but upfront costs could be a barrier to action in an industry where many are barely turning a profit.
However, she says many organisers are already taking practical steps to make their events more sustainable.
Environmental scientist Mat Morris is general manager of North Byron Parklands, a 270-hectare property that is home to the Falls Festival each summer and Splendour in the Grass, Australia’s largest winter music festival, which attracts 30,000 visitors each July.
“One of the things we do is offer a carbon offset ticket to patrons, to pay a bit extra to invest in climate-friendly options to offset their travel to the event,” Morris says. “We also get patrons to plant trees. They love it.”
Morris says more than 2000 trees were planted at the Splendour in the Grass festival last year and more than 1000 at the Falls Festival.
Other measures include 246 dry-composting toilets; 192 gas-fired, low-flow showers and treating all grey water and waste onsite. Festival-goers can also refill their containers from rainwater collected from the roofs of the ablution blocks.
Morris’s team also provides green tent options including Camp Little-Foot Print, where patrons sign a pledge to have as little environmental impact as possible in return for the best camping spots, closest to the music.
Simon Luke, co-ordinator of the Festival of the Sun, held in Port Macquarie in December, has adopted some measures used by Splendour in the Grass.
“It’s really put my faith back in the customers,” he says. “I’d underestimated how willing they were to recycle, remove their own waste and keep their campsites clean.”
To encourage festival-goers to pool their cars, rather than camp near their cars to charge their mobile devices, Luke has introduced portable chargers with lithium batteries.
In her report, Wynne suggests Green Music Australia should take the lead in co-ordinating and supporting organisers such as Luke and provide more green education.
Musician Tim Hollo, chief executive of Green Music Australia, is already heeding Wynne’s advice and working with St Jerome’s Laneway Festivals (which holds events in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the US) to make them more eco-friendly.
Initiatives include encouraging people to cycle to the event, providing a cycle valet service at the festival’s five Australian venues, and supplying free public transport to the event. Most lighting is changing to LED and sponsors will sell reusable water bottles instead of bottled water.
Green Music Australia is also supporting initiatives at other festivals such as the Caloundra Music Festival, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. In December, it became water bottle free. The sale of water bottles was banned on site in favour of town-water hydration stations and reusable containers. “It was a spectacular success and saved 60,000 water bottles from landfill,” Hollo says.
Wynne says more research is needed to minimise the wider environmental footprint of the industry.
As recorded music moves rapidly away from CDs (with many in recycled cardboard sleeves rather than plastic) and into downloading and digitisation, there is a need to quantify the impact of this transition, says Wynne.