I confess that I’m a bit of a tennis nut. It is my favourite pastime and I play as often as I can when I’m not injured (current injury is an annoying pulled calf muscle that just won’t heal!!). I also attend the Rogers Cup every summer and until this year, always as a spectator. This year, however, I decided to combine my two loves: environmental action and tennis. I volunteered for the green committee. As I suspected, the Green Committee volunteers’ job was to help spectators choose the right waste receptacle for their used food and drink containers. Right up my alley!!
Since 2007, the Rogers Cup Green Committee in Montreal has been charging ahead with many impressive green initiatives, the most visible one is with waste. Any sporting event involving hundreds of thousands of people over a period of ten days will generate mountains of garbage. In fact, last year The Rogers Cup Tournament in Montreal generated more than 68 tonnes of waste. It’s the nature of the event; people get hungry and thirsty, therefore they eat and drink. While it’s fine to have recycling bins available, at most large events the empty food containers become garbage because the bins aren’t used properly by the public or the recycling program isn’t extensive enough to capture most of the waste generated.
The Green Committee has taken the proactive measure of requiring all of its food vendors to use compostable and biodegradable food containers. They set up groups of three waste containers throughout the park: one for compost, one for recycling and one for garbage and used a waste hauler that separates all waste generated into recycling, compost and waste. Last year the results were an astonishing 87% diversion rate of waste from landfill. The diverted waste went to an industrial composter or to a recycling facility. Our goal this year was to try to beat 2013’s diversion rate — we won’t know for sure if we succeeded until the final tally of the results are in.
The Results for 2014 are in! The overall diversion rate from landfill to recycling or composting was 92%! Waste per capita decreased by 3%. Of the 70 tonnes of waste generated 5.6 tonnes went to landfill. Congratulations to all the spectators and volunteers who helped with trash diversion efforts!
However, the Green Committee’s efforts didn’t stop at waste diversion. It also undertook other initiatives such as:
- buying greenhouse gas credits from planetair.ca to offset its operations and transportation emissions,
- offering free public transportation by bus and metro to and from the event for ticket holders,
- providing bike rack parking with security guard service,
- implementing a local, Canadian and North American procurement policy for everything from food to Rogers uniforms to entertainment (local bands and artists).
These are just a few of the actions the team took to help reduce the tournament’s environmental footprint. Now, if we can just figure out how to recycle those used tennis balls….
You can read all about Rogers’ Cup green plan and progress here: http://www.rogerscup.com/women/english/greenPlan.php