Phoenix Open is largest zero waste event in the world

Business News | 28 Jan |

When the Waste Management Phoenix Open begins this week at TPC Scottsdale, it will do so having been internationally recognized and verified as being the largest zero waste event in the world. Since 2013, all tournament waste – nearly 5 million pounds – has either been recycled, composted, donated, reused or used to create energy.

“Every year, the Waste Management Phoenix Open looks to improve upon our previous years of zero waste success,” said Michele Grossman, managing principal of Sustainability Services for Waste Management. “This year, we will look to further reduce the tournament’s greenhouse gas emissions through scrim donations and efficiencies during set-up and tear-down. In addition, we have expanded our water conservation efforts through additional grey water collection points and are powering the tournament with 100 percent renewable energy.”

UL has provided a third-party verification of the tournament’s waste diversion since 2013. UL reviews the tournament’s procurement information and weight tickets to understand where materials are initially delivered and where all waste streams are processed down the line.

The Council for Responsible Sport, a non-profit promoting sustainability in sports, recognizes the Waste Management Phoenix Open as an “Inspire” event. Inspire event status is awarded after achieving multiple certifications to recognize the legacy of sporting events committed to social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

Last year, Scotland-based the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) recognized the Waste Management Phoenix Open as the first tournament in the world to attain GEO Certified® Tournament status. To become a GEO Certified® Tournament the Waste Management Phoenix Open achieved outstanding results in six categories: Planning, Site Protection, Procurement, Resource Management, Access and Equity, and Community Legacy.

“The Waste Management Phoenix Open continues to be the leader in producing responsible sporting events,” said Shelley Villalobos, managing director of the Council for Responsible Sport. “This event continues to prove what is possible when groups work together toward a common goal.”

The tournament’s Zero Waste initiatives require a commitment from vendors and sponsors before, during and after the tournament. The tournament host – The Thunderbirds – along with all tournament sponsors and vendors, commit to using only recyclable, compostable or reusable materials.  Fans and players play an important role, correctly placing materials into either recycling or compost bins.

The Waste Management Phoenix Open implements conservation measures to ensure that water is used responsibly and limits pressures on the municipal water supply. Hand-washing stations use hand sanitizer instead of water, and Waste Management captures between 5,000 and 6,000 gallons of grey water each year. Since 2011, over 31,000 gallons of water from cooking and cleaning have been reused in the portable toilets. In the fourth year of the Waste Management Phoenix Open Water Campaign, The Thunderbirds and Waste Management will reach a milestone with Change the Course: restoring over 200 million gallons of freshwater to ecosystems in need across Arizona.

The tournament will again purchase 100% renewable energy from the local utility company, which powers all generators plugged into the grid, most of the golf cart fleet, and other power needs during the tournament. The sun continues to be a great source of power for compactors and some of the light fixtures used around the course.

Waste Management will continue to offset 100 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions generated from Waste Management Phoenix Open operations and player travel through Envirofit International’s clean cook stove program in India.  Envirofit International is a social enterprise that innovates smart energy products and services that reduce climate change, create jobs, and improve the lives of people living in energy poverty.

To reduce food waste, Waste Management works with tournament vendors to recover unused food and donate it to local non-profits. In 2017, more than 23,500 pounds of leftover tournament food was donated.

Throughout 2018 tournament operations, the Waste Management team will work with UL on third-party verification, and the Council for Responsible Sport and GEO on recertification of the event.

Since 2011, Waste Management has operated under the ISO20121 standard for sustainable event management, which defines the requirements to ensure an enduring and balanced approach to economic activity, environmental responsibility and social progress relating to events. Learn more by viewing the 2017 Waste Management Phoenix Open Sustainability Report

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