Plastic waste crisis – What can sport events managers do to produce a plastic-free sport event?

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Autumn 2018

Why it is a contemporary issue?

Masses of plastic waste, which is usually left behind at sport events, has raised concern amongst both event managers and event attendees due to the impact that this has upon the environment. It is never hard to notice, or you may have already experienced single-use plastic products everywhere, especially within the event industry. For example, 750 000 of plastic water bottles are estimated to be collected after a London Marathon. This is equivalent to 7 tonnes of waste.

Are sport events contributing creating a plastic planet? Is it possible to reduce single-use plastic products at sport events? Are there any solutions? Keep reading if you want to be inspired how to run a ‘plastic-free’ sport event.

What is going on?

Plastic is becoming one of the significant environmental issues of our time.  Scientists reveal the quantity of plastic pollution in the ocean is set to treble within a decade.

The UK Government has invested around £61.4 million to stop plastic waste from entering the ocean, they also plan to ban plastic straws and cups, which are the common products at sport events. However, this is only the very first step of the Government to help with the plastic waste crisis and there could be more in the future. Therefore, the issue has become a new challenge, not only to sport events managers but to both participants and attendees.

Source: Pixabay

An Interesting fact about recycling plastic

Source: Plastic Free Inspiration


The popularity of plastic usage led to the promotion of plastic-recycling , however, lack of education mislead the people into assuming that the plastic is recycled and    re-established as a new product. In reality, only 9% of the recyclable plastic actually gets recycled. Therefore, event managers should carefully consider the products used at their events or select alternative materials.


So what can sport events do to save the planet from the plastic waste crisis?

Although it might sound impossible to eliminate the existence of plastic, especially in major sport events, there are various methods that have been trialled to control and reduce the plastic waste as well as to educate event attendees.

Source: Jorge Morales Piderit

1.Edible packaging:

Edible packaging is made from seaweed, from drinks to food wrappers and plates, which can be eaten or biodegrade naturally in four to six weeks.

Skipping Rocks Lab created the Ooh packaging, which were filled with Lucozade Sport drinks and gels, were successful used at Richmond Marathon and Tough Mudder in West Sussex.

Evoware created seaweed-based packaging, which can be used as food sachets, wraps, cups and also to package the non-food based contents such as cutlery, toothpicks, etc.

The benefits of Ooho and Evoware packaging are the environmental advantage of avoiding plastic packaging and they are virtually tasteless and odourless.

Source: Evoware and Skipping Rocks Lab

2. Recyclable products

Bamboo straws and bamboo cutlery can be recycled and reused. They are extremely strong, durable and affordable, which are perfect for most sport events that provide catering.

Plastic bottles can be replaced by recyclable or reusable cups and bottles. For example, London Marathon organisers tried to reduce the amount of plastic bottles used by putting out 90 000 recyclable cups at three drink stations along the 26.2 mile route.

Source: Pixabay and Shutterographry

3. Banning plastic products

Some events managers have gone further by eliminating the presence of plastic products within their events.

For example, London’s Kia Oval cricket grounds have banned the use of plastic straws and introduced compostable coffee cups. Likewise, the organisers of The Commonwealth Games, which were held on Australia’s Gold Coast, banned the use of helium balloons.

4. Replacing, replacing and replacing

Source: Plastic Free Inspiration

If an outright ban of plastic is not possible, replacing and using alternative options are worth considering.

For example, Twickenham Stadium has introduced reusable Fan Cups to replace disposable and plastic cups. Additionally, Croyde and Georgeham invented the first plastic-free sporting event series starting with the Croyde Ocean Triathlon. They replaced energy gel sachets with locally made flapjacks and protein balls and plastic bottles with compostable Vegware paper cups.

There are various companies that provide reusable and recyclable products, here is a few samples for your consideration: Stainless steal bottles, personalised cupseco-friendly bottlesbiodegradable plates and Ecoffee Cup.

Plastic waste is considered to be one of the greatest problems that humans are facing in their contemporary life. As sport events managers, we are not immune from this issue and therefore should we try harder and put our priorities in the right order to achieve plastic-free sport events by addressing the following questions.

  • Do you think it is possible to control the plastic waste within sport events?
  • What changes will plastic-free sport events can make?
  • Do you find these given methods helpful?
  • What are your alternative solutions that you find effective?
  • Who is the ultimately responsible for helping to solve this problem, is it sport events managers or the participants or spectators?

We would love to know your thoughts, please share them with us in the comment section below.



NatashaW says:

You claim that plastic is one of the worse problems at sports events but what about food waste? If food isn’t disposed of correctly it can create air pollution through the release of methane gases.
Why do you think using edible materials is a successful solution to reducing the use of plastic? We’re not going to save the planet by banning plastic straws.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for your comment, Natasha.
Undeniably, both food and plastics waste are contemporary issues that should be carefully considered in the event sector. However, the reason why we chose plastic waste because they remain on Earth around 400 years after single-used and it also costs a lot of money and efforts to eliminate.
As we mentioned above, the edible packaging is one of the solutions. It is made of seaweed which can be eaten or biodegrade naturally in four to six weeks. Instead of plastic bottles or plastic cutlery, we use edible packaging, which has similar functions to reduce a major amount of plastic products at a sporting event. And yes, we cannot save the planet using only one method, we need to combine them all as well as raise awareness. We hope our response answer your question. Do you have any solutions to food waste you want to share with us? We are looking forward to hearing from you again.

NatashaW says:

There are 10million tonnes of food waste produced in the food industry alone and this accounts for 20% of the to UKs CO2 emissions. My question is making food trays out of food isn’t that just contributing to the waste? How about we don’t provide food at events in throw away materials why don’t we just use metal cutlery and ceramic plates?

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for your response, Natasha. With seaweed to make food trays, it will biodegrade naturally in four to six weeks so there shouldn’t be any food waste left after six weeks, which will not last for a long time like the plastic waste. Moreover, metal cutlery and ceramic plates will cost more money than seaweed packaging. They can be considered as dangerous objects and the event attendees might forget to return them after finished using. We hope our reply answer your questions.

seaweed will biodegrade emitting Carbon dioxide or worse methane – single use stuff – what ever it is made of – is not the answer!

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for your comment, Alison. The blog aims to raise awareness and to reduce the use of single-use plastic products with alternative methods. Beside those given methods, can you tell us what your ideas to reduce the plastic waste so we could improve our blog? In regards to the seaweed issue, we found that by feeding cows seaweed we are able to cut 99% of greenhouse gas emissions from their burps and researchers in California are experimenting with seaweed as a dietary additive for cows to dramatically cut their methane production, and the results from what scientist said is promising. The use of seaweed, in this case, is not for packaging, however, we found it related since seaweed helps cows to belch less methane. We hope our response answers your thoughts. For further discussion, could you please be more specific about the seaweed problem, so we can address it appropriately?

Emer says:

Thanks! A couple of qs. Only 9% of recyclable plastic is recycled? why? edible packaging is a great innovation but we are replacing 1 single-use material with another so it isn’t sustainable.At the moment, although I’m always open to pushback,reusable and recyclable best

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for your comment, Emer.
We also feel surprised with the figures that we have found from National Geographic, saying only 9% plastic waste gets recycled, 12% was incinerated and the rest was abandoned in landfills or in the natural environment. We believe that this is related to:
1. Human behaviour because plastic does not always go to bins after being used
2. Not every plastic products can be recycled as they are made of different types of plastics, which includes can be recycled and non-recycled
3. The complicated procedures with recycling plastics which makes it time-consuming.

We consider seaweed packaging as a sustainable material because the process of making them does not need any chemical procedures and more importantly, it does not cost the Earth. We can either eat them and recycle them into new products after use. You may go on Evoware and Skipping Rocks Lab to find out more information about seaweed packaging or you may want to click on the companies’ name within the edible packaging section, you will be directed to their website.

Kitty says:

I have been working with a hospitality industry last year. There were tones of plastic cups been use and thrown during the beer festival in a company annual event, we suggest using hard plastic cup that can replaced the thin materials and therefore cups can be collect and reused every signal time. And this could also help the company to save garbage fees and less cleaning time will be involved at the end of the event

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Kitty. The method that your company used is indeed a brilliant idea to reduce plastic waste. We hope you find the blog useful if you can think of any other solution please share with us.

Rachel says:

Really interesting article! Referring to your questions, I definitely think that it is possible to greatly control the volume of plastic waste produced in sports events. Having taken part in lots of large scale sports events, I always feel shocked by the amount of unnecessary waste plastic produced, namely plastic drinks bottles. I think the idea of edible drinks containers that have no waste footprint are brilliant, and hopefully these will start to take off on a larger scale in the near future.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Rachel. It is a pleasure to hear about your plastic waste experiences at sporting events. Let’s hope many other sporting events will strongly take responsibility upon this issue. If you can think of any other solutions to reduce plastic waste, please share with us.

MikeG says:

An interesting article that raises several important points about the sustainability of plastic use at large scale sporting events. I think responsibility lies with both event organisers and participants to reduce single use plastics at these events. Organisers should choose alternatives where possible and participants should actively seek out events that do not use single use plastics.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for your comment, MikeG. Undoubtedly, both event managers and attendees should be educated and responsible regarding this issue. With the methods mentioned above, our aims are to raise the issue and provide some solutions which we can use to control and reduce the plastic waste crisis. Have you noticed any methods used at any particular sporting events?

Nina says:

Very interesting blog which is always an on going issue, in response to your question I think event manager are responsible for any plastic waste created but at the same time so are the attendees who create the plastic waste. For sporting events maybe event managers could put some sort of incentive scheme in place to encourage attendees to recycle their plastic, although I know this may be difficult due to the large number of attendees that there may be at one event. Do you have any other ideas on methods which could be used?

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for your question, Nina. We believe that it is difficult to run a plastic free event and it could be a good idea to start with reducing plastic as the first step towards. Apart from the given methods, we can encourage attendees to reduce the use of plastic products by given out some rules when they buy drinks and food. At some festivals, each customer will be given a cup at the beginning and they need to keep the fup throughout the event to buy drinks. If they lose the cup they need to spend from £2 to £10 for a new one. We also can give out food and drinks discount for any customers who bring their own containers and cups. What do you think of our solutions? We hope our answers helpful.

Kevin Chan says:

I really like the number 4 method and it is a very interesting article to read and I enjoy it. I think Eco-friendly bottles will make a huge impact in this industry. Recently, being working on a large sports event I can see they start rolling out to use Eco-friendly bottle already. They can bring the bottle to each event they are attending.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Kevin. Some other sporting events start using Eco-friendly bottles or cups and they also encourage their attendees to use reusable Fan Cups to reduce the plastic waste. If you can think of any other methods, please feel free to share with us. We would love to hear more from you.

Bel Booker says:

Great article. Sporting events can be as much a part of the plastic problem as festivals. Fab to see so many real life examples of solutions. I can see how biodegradable options such as seaweed are a positive move to keep plastic out of the ocean, however we must also remember that nothing biodegrades in landfill. Reducing landfill is also important. This means if event organisers switch to biodegradable options, this waste must be diverted to composting facilities.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Bel Booker. Regards to the waste in landfill, we could not agree more. Event organisers should carefully consider when it comes to the after process of seaweed packaging. We would not want to pile up the landfill with seaweed packaging at the end. Within an event, it should have a waste management system which can measure and provide options to control and handle the waste in an effective way. Do you think it is necessary to have a team, who is only responsible for the waste in an event?

Belinda Booker says:

Yes for sure. For a big event, there should be someone in charge of waste management – and a team of volunteers to help ensure everything is correctly sorted. There is an organisation which provides volunteers to help do this called Festival Green Machine. You might be interested to read a more in depth guide to sustainability at festivals I wrote. You can find it here:

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for your sharing, Belinda. We are impressed by what Festival Green Machine’s working on because we believe that it is very important to give correct guidance to the managers in order to hold their first authentic green event. However, there is a long way to go if this perception is not widely spread! We hope that one day everyone can enjoy every event without causing the Earth!

Cheryl says:

First and foremost, thank you for the great information above. As a former events coordinator, it IS scary to see the amount of plastic we use, regardless in events or day-to-day. It is extremely sad to see sea lives endangered because we do not dispose these plastic waste correctly. I also think that, in events as such, we shouldn’t just think of food packaging to reduce plastic waste. How about the banners and big blow up balloons used to attract people or plastic name or number badges (in marathons). Are those necessary as they are also made by plastic and usually becomes useless after the event is over. Is there a better material that we can use…

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for your comment, Cheryl. The truth is around 12.7 million tonnes of plastic – everything from plastic bottles and bags to microbe ads – end up in our oceans each year. As events organisers, we need to think outside the box and put our efforts in every event to prevent a large amount of plastic waste. These given methods are just some of the ways we could do to save the Earth. With the blog, we want to spread our ideas and raise the contemporary issues in our lives. Both events organisers and events attendees need to start thinking of every possible solution to reduce the plastic waste, from replace to eliminate plastic products with alternative options. Thank you once again for giving us some great examples. In the near future, if you have chances to be an events coordinator again, would you consider to use those given methods to manage the plastic waste within your events?

Lynne S says:

Thanks for this, very interesting article. As someone currently on a mission to see how much I can reduce single use plastic just in my own home I found the information fascinating. To be honest if the alternatives to plastic are affordable and available then event organisers have no excuse. People hide too much behind convention, perceived expectation and laziness and therefore fail to take action. I hope your article gains a wide readership.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for commenting on our blog, Lynne S. We completely agree with you that human behavior has a bigger concern than the cost of using alternative materials instead of plastic. This is a very contemporary issue that happened as people usually have to be motivated to do it even though there is a strategy which effectively works. For example, people relied on the single-use cup which
can be simply replaced by bringing their own tumblers.
If you find this blog is interesting, please kindly share our blog.

John Lannon says:

Interesting! Can large events like the London Marathon work in partnership with recycling companies to ensure that plastic recycling is embedded fully within the management of the operation. That way the plastic bottles can be recycled quickly and efficiently, whilst still allowing the runners/participants to hydrate appropriately. Could we as event managers also put pressure on the suppliers to do something as well?

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for the comment, John. Undoubtedly, the event manager should have a well-organised plan to deal with plastic waste and may consider co-operating with recycling companies as one of the great solutions. However, recycling plastic is not always an ideal way to solve the problem completely regarding the to blog, we agree that putting pressure on the suppliers could be a good one! We should never underestimate the power when plastic-free products are widely produced, it could potentially change customers’ buying habits. It is now an ethical issue and event managers may start leading as an example. We hope our reply answer your questions.

Jay says:

This is a really interesting read! I’m shocked at how little recyclable plastic is actually being recycled – surely there’s more to it? I’ve worked on events that use vegware cups instead of plastic ones but they are still only one use products, and they were a sponsor, so at full price I’m not sure they would have been the most financially viable option. I’m not sure which option is the best because even the reusable products will one day no longer be needed and what happens to them then? I think everyone is responsible for this problem but sport event managers should gather lots of feedback about which alternative participants and spectators prefer and use that to come to a decision which suits the circumstances best, to then be used by all stakeholders. Spectators, participants, organisers and sponsors should all actively be using the agreed alternative method so as to influence people’s future decisions.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Jay. We totally agree with your say and yes, truly, the cost of using alternative materials may become one of the argumental problems when it comes to a decision and all the stakeholders should contribute their efforts to show their support for the plastic waste crisis in order to solve it.
While the edible packaging is not widely used in the large-scale events, we believe the reusable product could be one of the solutions for the transition process, but of course, this is also trialing the ethical issue of human behaviour.
This is not only about perception, but action most importantly. Therefore, event managers should act as an example and mass educate the attendees to understand the importance of their choices, imply such knowledge in their lives and follow the idea. We hope our reply answer your questions. If you have any other solutions, please kindly share more with us.

Suzanne says:

Thank you for such informative and inspiring blog. I do think it is possible to control the plastic waste within sport events. Plastic-free sport events can build a better image of the organizer and raise awareness of environmental sustainability among both attendees and those who know about the events via any media channel. These given methods are very helpful, and I have also seen them being promoted (scatteredly) from times to times but not adopted widely in reality, which needs big events to adopt and thus encourage people to try them as well. There should be an organizing staff to take charge of waste management for sport events, carrying out solutions to decrease plastic used in the event as much as possible.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Suzanne. Although the plastic waste reduction process is difficult for events managers, it is still possible to manage. With social media as a useful tool, events managers can productively deliver the understandings of environmental sustainability in sporting events. It can be denied that various methods were given and suggested but less got embraced and proceeded. However, many sports events managers recently acknowledge the issue and try to develop the sustainability aspect of their events. For example, London Marathon events start using recycle cups and bottles and ban single-use plastic products and Football Clubs provide reusable Fan Cup and advise attendees to bring their own bottles. You would be able to find more case studies from BBC or The Guardian, etc. Researchers stated that waste generated at events is one of the most prominent environmental impacts, this is also one of the most costly expenses for festivals and should be given careful consideration in the planning process. Do you think it is worth to spend a large amount of money in waste management system?

Long says:

Thank you for an informative article. I find it really fascinating on the alternative method to reduce plastic container. In sport event, I think it is possible to encourage this replacement by promote it along with the event and ask people to bring their personal bottle. There are a few point that I am wondering: will these alternative product increase the fund needed for the sport event? Should we also focus on the cleaning up process as well? Because even when they are reusable, people can still throw them away just for convenient. The event managers may need to take all this into consideration to try and reduce plastic waste and waste in general for better after event scenary.
One again, thank you for the article and I hope that more people will be aware of this problem

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for your comment, Long. We are glad that you enjoyed our blog. With regards to your questions, surely the alternative methods might cost more than plastic products. We have mentioned some of the alternative products’ links above and it seems there is not a big difference in prices. We also think that every event should have a waste management team to analyse suitable ways and process the waste effectively at the end. There are many other solutions to reduce the plastic use at events, instead of changing materials, events managers can be creative with different ways to control the waste. For example, Love Saves the Day event used a reusable cup system where the audience paid a one-off £1 for their first cup, and then exchanged dirty cups for fresh throughout the event. Signs were placed at the bars, bar-staff were trained to explain the initiative to customers, and auditing systems were put in place. The result was that many thousands of single-use cups were prevented from being used and discarded, making less waste and a cleaner festival site. We believe that it would not be a difficult start to cut down the plastic waste if we pay enough effort and attention.

inthala sihakhom says:

very interesting to read, what a great article. I find it very useful and thanks for reminding me about how little the plastic has been recycle in the recent years. from my opinion, both participants and sport events manager need to work with each other, as this cannot be a one man job, everybody need to helps each other out.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for your comment, Inthala. It is our pleasure to provide the interesting fact, which we were surprised too. In order to reduce the plastic waste, the process needs support and effort from both events managers and events attendees to carry out the job. With the blog, we hope to inspire and educate as many people as possible about the plastic waste crisis within the event industry. Do you think we should also control the plastic waste from other industries?

Sam says:

The information in the article is really helpful, especially in Vietnam. I have experienced a few events in Vietnam but there wasn’t any solution for reducing plastic waste applied, even the event was organised by an reputable company.
If these methods could be applied, it would not only help to reduce plastic waste but also give support to create the good image of both the event and the organiser.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for sharing your own experience with us, Sam. We personally think that plastic waste is a great problem in many developing countries and to reduce the waste significantly is a challenge for the event’s organisers. As this is an outstanding contemporary issue, many individuals and organisations provide solutions through researches and campaigns within the event industry has increased rapidly over time. For example, Plastic Pollution Solutions and Plastic Pollution Coalition provide consults and help evaluate current business practices and advise on how best to reduce an organisation’s plastic footprint, likewise, researches have been carried out to help events companies to analyse the best methods for their events. Events companies in Vietnam should be able to interact with these methods and consultants. With the blog, our aims are to help events managers and educate events attendees around the world. As an event attendee, if there is a major plastic waste in the event you participate, will you raise the problem to the events organisers?

Dita says:

This is an educational blog, which we are should consider how companies should face the issue they have caused. The fact that only 9% of plastic is actually being recycled is surprising me. The edible package will be a very solution for reducing plastic waste. Hopefully, those methods your blog have mentioned can be used in my venue because I believe if we can produce plastic by harmless material, we should able to invert those plastic back to harmless material. Meanwhile, I would like to know the comparison of those methods. The ideas are great, but we need to consider the practicability as well.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for your comment. We hope that our methods can be applied effectively at your venue. Many different sporting events have already used those methods. They did not use all the given methods as once, however, each sporting events that used one or more showed us the positive results that this could be a new revolution for the events industry to go green successfully. This can be a new trend in the events field if more and more events are trying to be responsible and provide different solutions to control their plastic waste.

Richard says:

Great article and I guess the reference to plastics really resonates across all events and then into our everyday lives. Clearly plastics are just one of a number of increasingly pressing environmental and social issues that we need to address and events managers must be part of the solution through leading by example. The threads here identify the need to engage with these issues as almost ‘one problem’ but they hint too that a personal response maybe insufficient to bring about change and therefore there is a need for political intervention to accelerate a reduction in the use of plastics and their on-going impact on the planet’s ecosystem, landscapes, wildlife, and individual health. We must convince event companies of the benefits they will gain from reduction and/or removal of plastics, both in terms of societal and environmental benefits but more obviously in terms of how they will benefit economically. Any action by event managers, in order to be consistent, must also address the other issues raised in these threads around social justice, environmental degradation and the like through what might be described as ethical management.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Richard. We believe that plastic waste is just one of the recent pressing issues that affect the environment and our lives and events managers should analyse the issue and take action to prevent it. Many people try to recycle and reduce their use of plastic, however, the lack of understandings led to a worse situation. Governments should involve to raise awareness and ensure the recycling procedures process correctly. Both events managers and organisations need to understand their impact on the environment and the industry and take action accordingly based on the balance between economic and environment aspects. They also should thoughtfully consider the way of raising awareness through events ethically. Thank you again for enlighten us with your thoughts.

Nelda says:

Very inspiring article pointing out the sport industry is and willing to combat plastic pollution. Waste management is always a crucial task for an event organiser especially for these mega events. First of all, reducing plastic from the supply side could help a lot already, i.e. cutting out all single use plastic items, including straws, disposable packaging and cutlery. And then to minimise the waste by recycling, such as using biodegradable / recycling materials for the necessities, in particular water bottles/water cups. I would also suggest the organisers to launch recycle incentive programs for all the, this could be much more effective. Yet, plastic-free event is quite an ideal thoughts, with all the costs for recycling and the needs of tremendous co-operation from all the stakeholders, I am very looking forward to see this happened.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for sharing your ideas with us, Nelda. We could not agree more. Plastic-free events will soon come true when they have enough help and support from different sectors including events managers, events attendees, and stakeholders. We believe that raising awareness is not only events managers’ responsibility but governments should also help to launch and promote the recycling incentive program widely. As events students, we are all looking forward to contributing something to make this idea becomes a reality.

Kui says:

I am so shocked by the figure that only 9% of the recyclable plastic gets recycled, and I wonder how the lack of education has misled people into assuming that the plastic is recycled and re-established as a new product. Do you mean that people are not educated to recycle properly, so that only a limited amount of plastic could be recycled? Or is there any more significant reason for such a low rate? Besides, I think the suggestions are no doubt desirable, and they should not be limited to sports events. Yet the crux of the problem is that not many organizers or consumers are willing to take these measures actively, for their convenience or cost sake. Therefore, I reckon that the government should step in, to provide either more subsidy or restrictive measures, so as to boost a more sustainable waste management and event culture.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Kui. We are as surprised as you are. The research shows that just 9% of the plastic created since the 1950s was recycled, 12% was incinerated, and 79% wound up in landfills or the natural environment. We believe that plastic products are convenient and cheap which leads to high demands for plastic products while the waste management procedures are not effective and there are not enough factories and suitable methods to process, likewise, without a market demand, those recyclables are almost useless. People try their best to recycle plastic, however, the lack of understandings pushes us back to zero. Only clean plastic is recyclable. With those given methods, what we think are the most efficient and easy ways to apply, our aims were not only for sporting events but for many different events across the world. We also think that governments should invest more in order to sustain the green environment.

Dorothy Yiu says:

Plastic is a real issue within the event industry and this reminded me of the Swim for a Million event which organised by my working company. We have prepared food bags which made of recyclable paper for the participants which I think have already made our best to be environmental friendly, however, not the bottles of energy drinks and water. Creating plastic waste has became an unavoidable situation to us because it is being limited by the product itself as well as we have no other better drinks choices for a sport event.
Plastic waste is a must-dealing-with issue and it may starting from the producers and the event companies’ policy. This may not be a problem in the future once the efforts were paid and actions were done. Simply as providing water filling machine instead may immediately help.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Dorothy. We totally agreed with you. Plastic waste is one of the most pressing issue recently, especially in sporting events industry. Events organisations should consider carefully to ensure the sustainability aspect included in the events’ policies. We cannot denied the convenient of plastic bottles in sporting events, however, events managers need to be aware of the large amount of plastic waste, which might not be disposed for years, after the event took place. The process of reducing plastic waste only success if both events attendees and events managers would be responsible for controlling their plastic footprint.


Interesting reading. It is not only happening to sporting events but food festival. As an exhibitors participating once a year for the consecutive 4 years, I can see bags of garbage were being cleaned up hourly and it is never hard to guess every bags were mostly filled with foam bowls and plates. They are cheap, unlike the recyclable and biodegradable ones, and so make it so popular in the catering sector. I think the education should start with parenting, schooling, and from a finance perspective, the prices of the plastic-free products should be more user-friendly in order to encourage the sector to purchase.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Martin. Because plastic products are cheap and convenient, the demands for them are high while the after using procedures are not effective leads to a large amount of plastic waste ends up in the landfill or the incinerator. We believe that education is one of the most vital solutions to reduce the use of plastic products. Researches show that consumers are likely to pay more for recyclable products and they start adapting to the fact that they could cost more than plastic products. Likewise, suppliers should thoughtfully consider a reasonable price to encourage people to purchase.

Hannah Beh says:

The plastic issue isn’t only happen in sports industry but a silent global killer. It is much more serious than we ever imagine currently !
The ultimate responsibility should be every human being as plastic usage are already part of the life. This article has mentioned very much solution, but many more country are still not aware about it and no action is taken to stop the global disaster. The awareness of every country is so important. When awareness raised and action system implemented from the government , I believe problem can be solve gradually.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Hannah. Plastic waste issue is not only happening in sporting events but in many different fields. We need the support and action from every single person and governments around the world to control plastic waste. While doing researches for this article, we have found many shocking facts about plastic products and recycling process that people may not understand correctly led to the crisis. We believe that to successfully eliminate the problem not only in the sport events industry but also other fields, governments should invest and deploy plastic recycling incentive programs broadly.

Icy says:

It’s great article to wake the public awareness. To share some of my experiences. I’m a graduate of Visual Merchandising. I participated a few events and set up a pop up store in a shopping mall before. It needs create pops, hanger, shelf and the gift packing. It’s hard to avoid using plastic as it needs a good visual. Sometimes we’ll try to use other materials to replace plastic such as wood, recycle fiber and some materials which is easy to decompose. If it’s hard to replace, we’ll try to keep the pops and reuse next time. The production departnent or production house can play a important role to reduce this issue. It should make a good communication to them to arrange a better coordination of reducing plastic waste.

plasticfreeinspiration says:

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Icy. And yes, good communication between the production department and event company is very important because they can achieve their best result in terms of creating a plastic-free event in a more easier way. We cannot deny that the visual element always play an important role in the event industry because it influences the attendees’ views on the company. However, we are pleased to know your working company will try to replace plastic with alternative materials and reuse the pops for future use, this would definitely help with the plastic waste crisis to the environment. If you have any other ideas regarding to plastic-free in events, please kindly share with us.

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