(USA)

Researchers in America have released a study revealing ways in which sporting events can become champions of sustainability.

The report by a team from the University of Missouri (MU) was compiled on the back of lessons learned from a season analysing waste patterns at the stadium where its collegiate football team plays.

“Zero waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials with the target of recycling or composting at least 90 percent of the waste generated at football games,” explained Christine Costello, assistant research professor of bioengineering in the MU College of Engineering. “Our objectives were to develop a system to characterize the waste produced at sporting events prior to game day and unsold food disposed of on game day, quantify the greenhouse gases produced, identify waste management and recycling strategies, and develop scenarios that event managers can use to decrease life cycle greenhouse gas emissions and energy use.”

Recommendations for action include ‘educating attendees about recycling and sustainability’, ‘donating unsold food to local charities’, and ‘providing more recycling stations and receptacles throughout the stadium’.

“Athletic events offer a great opportunity for engaging with a large, diverse crowd that may or may not be familiar with sustainability issues. Sporting event organizers can generate pro-environmental messaging to a broad audience and should take advantage of getting the word out about sustainable operations. This would be a wonderful public relations tool for these professional and collegiate leagues and should be pursued,” added Ronald McGarvey, from the MU College of Engineering.