Want to know where future is headed for major sports event recycling such as PGA golf tournaments? You may not need to look further than the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
At the 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open, one important omission will be the absence of trash cans, and their replacement by recycling and compost containers. When you think of it, what better way than to eliminate waste than to eliminate garbage receptacles. But at the same time, it is a risky move. If the trash cans are gone, and there is still trash being generated, then there are going to be problems with either trash left on the curb, or trash commingled with recycling and compost. To pull it off, a comprehensive recycling approach is required.
Waste Management, the event sponsor, is doing just that. It is using the Waste Management Phoenix Open to launch its Zero Waste Challenge – an initiative aimed at educating vendors and patrons about proper waste disposal, so that eventually zero waste is sent to the landfill. For the 2012 event, Waste Management plans to divert 90 percent of tournament waste from landfills, while recover 70 percent of total waste in the form of compost material as well as recyclable paper products, plastics and aluminum.
The 2012 event will mark the first year that there will be no trash bins along the course. Alternately, Waste Management will offer recycling bins and composting bins for the collection of recyclables and compostable food waste, respectively.
“The Zero Waste Challenge is an incredible opportunity for Waste Management to energize and educate this broad audience about our efforts to triple the amount of recyclable materials nationwide by the year 2020,” said Waste Management senior vice president Duane Woods. “As a company committed to extracting the most value possible from all of the materials we manage, we continue to look for ways to make WMPO the greenest tournament on the PGA Tour.”
Specific arrangements for the tournament include:
- The positioning of recycling stations in high-traffic areas such as food courts and corporate village, staffed with “recycling ambassadors” to answer any questions about using the recycling and composting bins.
- Waste Management working closely event vendors to monitor their consumption of water and promote conservation.
- The use of concession kitchen greywater, for use in portable toilets. This tactic helped conserve 1,476 gallons of fresh water at the 2011 event.
- The use of Recyclebank kiosks, or reverse vending machines, offering various incentives or retailer discount coupons to patrons who use them.
- The deployment of sixty WM solar-powered compactors along the course. The machines can hold up to five times as much material as conventional non-compacting bins, resulting in fewer trips needed to service them.
- The deployment of four compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks to transport the waste and recycled materials resulting from the tournament. Emissions from these trucks are less than regular diesel freight vehicles.
- The use of a portable solar power unit to supply electricity to the Waste Management’s hospitality tent.
Volunteer recycling ambassadors will play a key role at the event through educating tournament attendees, increasing awareness of the diversion goals, and monitoring recycling and food waste receptacles.
The key message is to take a holistic approach, including not only eliminating trash cans, but eliminating the need for them through coordinated efforts with event vendors and guiding the behavior of attendees.