Football clubs have been scrutinized for their environmental impact during season, typically regarding their means of travel and the use of single-use plastics in stadiums. However, there is a growing movement towards making the game more Earth-friendly, seen in part by BBC Sport’s work with the UN-backed Sport Positive Summit to bring the European Union's Green Packaging Deal into the starting XI.
Several football teams have already made commendable efforts to prioritize sustainability.
- Forest Green Rovers in the UK became the world's first carbon-neutral football club, while promoting vegan food options, renewable energy, and organic pitch maintenance.
- FC Barcelona in Spain installed solar panels on their stadium roof, reducing energy consumption and emissions.
- Ajax in the Netherlands utilizes an innovative rainwater collection system to irrigate their pitch.
To rise in the standings of sustainability, stadiums can adopt various eco-friendly practices. One crucial step is replacing single-use plastics with biodegradable alternatives. Biodegradable disposables such as straws & cutlery can be utilized by vendors, reducing the environmental impact without sacrificing functionality. Attendees are on site to enjoy the beautiful game, not to worry about how or where these products are going to be disposed.
Alongside these changes, stadiums must establish an efficient waste management infrastructure. In many scenarios, this would mean significant investment to educate staff and viewers how to collect, clean, and sort ‘eco’ products, but companies such as StrawFish make it easier than ever to dispose of disposables, knowing they will biodegrade naturally.
To successfully implement these changes, educating fans about the importance of sustainability and their role in reducing plastic waste is crucial. Teams can engage with sponsorsand suppliers to foster collaboration and community engagement.
Football teams have an opportunity to rise in the standings of sustainability by embracing eco-friendly practices. The examples being set across the Premier League showcase the potential for change and inspire others to follow suit.
Together, we can create a greener future for football and the planet.
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