• How to reduce and recycle waste at sports events Aug 15, 2018
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    Stadiums and arenas generate thousands of tonnes of rubbish each year. The large number of people in one place at one time results in a high volume of waste and potential recyclable materials.

    Implementing an effective recycling plan and running more sustainable events at your stadium can save thousands of pounds a year in waste disposal costs, demonstrates environmental leadership and could help you attract a bigger audience.

    Recycling bins will play a major role in the success of your sustainability programme both front of house and behind the scenes. AJ Products has recycling bins and waste containers to suit every need. The company is dedicated to sustainable development throughout its supply chain and will help your organisation demonstrate the same commitment.

    How to get started

    First of all, event organisers need to identify the most common waste streams created at the stadium and evaluate current disposal methods. Common types of waste are likely to include:

    · Plastic bottles

    · Paper

    · Cardboard

    · Glass (from behind food service areas)

    · Food waste

    · General waste

    Then, set out your initial aims. There is no need for these to be overly complicated. For example, some achievable yet measurable aims could be to:

    · Identify waste segregation systems to enable greater recycling

    · Separate all food waste from general waste and combine with green waste for composting

    · Collect all plastic and glass containers after matchday events for recycling

    Once you have set out your goals, there are several areas on which to focus in order to make your recycling scheme a success.

    Restrict the waste coming into your stadium

    Most stadiums already restrict what items can be brought into the venue and many do not allow outside food and drinks to be consumed on site. By restricting what comes in, you can fit your recycling containers with customised recycling signs to show which items can go in each bin. Make it clear to visitors before the event what items will be permitted into the stadium. This information should be communicated on social media, in pre-event emails and on your website so that everyone is aware. Make sure you have large capacity waste and recycling bins at each entrance to collect any outside waste.

    Make it easy for visitors

    Inside the stadium, there are numerous things you can do to encourage recycling among attendees. Firstly, it is important to place recycling bins next to general waste bins. If the bins are separate, people will use the most convenient bin rather than the right one for their waste. Make sure that bins are visible by placing them in high traffic areas such as throughout the concourse and at the entrances/exits to the stands. Remember that people have just a couple of seconds to decide which bin to use so clear signs at eye level are essential; signs with pictures as well as text help people make a quick decision and avoid any language barriers.

    One innovative idea to use during the match itself is the “Pass-the-Bag” scheme. This simple initiative involves venue staff handing out recycling bags to attendees while they are in their seats and encouraging fans to pass the bag along after they have placed their recyclable waste inside. At the end of the event, staff can then pick up all of the waste and recyclables left in the stands more quickly.

    Encourage fan participation

    Encouraging visitor participation in stadium recycling schemes can be challenging. The venue needs to engage fans in efforts to reduce waste and lessen the stadium’s environmental footprint. One of the most effective ways to do this is by featuring the home team in marketing material: a video promoted on social media in advance of the game and shown on the big screen on match day will gain attention and make fans aware of the scheme. Recycling education can also be carried out by inserting notices in event programmes, displaying posters and billboards, putting clear signs on bins, and communicating where and why to recycle at the point of sale for concessions purchased on site.

    Make sure vendors use recyclable or compostable materials

    It is important to work closely with vendors and concessionaires as they will be responsible for a large amount of the venue’s waste. Make it part of your contract with vendors that they must use packaging and containers that can either be recycled or composted after use. Also ensure that they are recycling their behind-the-counter waste. Working with vendors and food service companies to address behind-the-scenes recycling is essential. No matter how many opportunities visitors are given to recycle, vendors are solely responsible for set-up and take-down waste disposal as well as post-event clean-up.

    Don’t forget about areas outside the stadium

    Areas surrounding the stadium should also be covered by your recycling scheme. This benefits the venue by improving your standing among the local community. Setting up recycling bins in the car park and surrounding area is an effective way of encouraging pre-and post-event recycling.
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