Hannah Mills, who won gold for Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, has teamed up with the UK Environment Agency to ask sports organisations across the country to further reduce their plastic waste. The UK government estimates that major sporting events such as well-attended foot races can generate up to 750,000 plastic bottles, many of which are simply thrown away.
Working with an EU initiative called Preventing Plastic Pollution
, the Environment Agency has published a range of guidance notes for running, cycling and triathlon events. These call on organisers to address avoidable single-use plastics by introducing water refill stations for participants own refillable bottles, to minimise food packaging, and provide more recycling bins into which it is easier to toss waste plastic. Signage, banners, competitors bibs and other plastic items should also be examined, the advice suggests.
Project lead Hannah Amor, from the Environment Agencys plastics and sustainability team, said the sports industry was in the unique position of being able to influence millions of people worldwide by leading the way in sustainability and setting a good example. By minimising avoidable plastic consumption, the industry can help reduce the impact of plastic on our planet, reduce its carbon footprint and contribution to the climate crisis possibly saving money at the same time.
Olympic champion and environmentalist Mills, who created an initiative called the Big Plastics Pledge
, said: By harnessing and unifying communities by the power and reach of sport, through the athletes, events, fans, volunteers and brands, the lasting impact is almost unimaginable.