Recycling, plastic and sport – how are they linked? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Sir David Attenborough emphasizes the message about our planet on the destructive impact humans are having on it.

He has been a key advocate on educating us on single use products, the war on plastic and how we can lower the amount we empty into landfills each year. This has thankfully become a global movement and the sporting world has got on board!


At the Bengaluru Chinnaswamy stadium in India, they have adopted a zero-waste policy. An average Indian Premier League match can expect 40,000 fans, and this generates between 3-4 tons of waste. In the past all of this went into the same receptacle, resulting in it being sent to a landfill. Now separate bins are available for dry and wet waste. They also have an army of volunteers who help sort this as well as educate fans on how to reduce their impact. Even the vendors are being asked to use biodegradable plates.


Twickenham, the home of the England Rugby Team is a giant stadium with a capacity of around 82 000. During international matches they would expect to serve 140,000 pints of beer, all of which would be in single use cups. This resulted in 140 000 plastic cups ending up in a landfill after every match. They have now introduced a ‘reusable fan cup’ – when customers buy their first drink they are charged an additional £1 refundable deposit. If they want another drink  they get their own cup topped up. At the end of the day the customer can either get their deposit back or take their cup home as a souvenir.

Many sporting venues now have areas where you can fill up your own water bottles and plastic straws have been banned at some stadiums. The idea behind this movement is not to limit people’s enjoyment, however with so many people in one place the accumulation of waste is accelerated. Small changes like reusable cups or the removal of celebratory balloons can make a massive impact to the amount of plastic being used and then thrown away. The introduction of separate bins is a great way to allow for more waste to be recycled and composted.

It is undeniable that the world needs our help, and our disposable habits need to stop. It’s fantastic that the sporting world is becoming aware of this and actioning change. Sport has the power to bring people together, educate and now it seems be a massive part of this new environmentally charged revolution!

Sport really can do it all!


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