As plastic continually remains one of the top ten items found in beach clean-ups throughout the UK, it’s up to everyone to do something about it – and that includes the sports industry.
While many companies have discussed initiatives, the 2018 Wimbledon tournament put a plan into motion when they announced they would be banning all plastic straws at this year’s event. Last year, more than 400,000 plastic straws were used throughout the tournament. This time around, fans sipped on a refreshing Pimm’s with recyclable paper straws this year.
In correlation with the sustainable trend, the All England Lawn Tennis Club also announced that a paper bag option would be given at all Wimbledon shops replacing the existing multi-use plastic bags, which are in the process of being phased out. However, the Wimbledon chief executive, Richard Lewis doesn’t stop there. He also made note that there would be a total of 87 free water refill points available for public use throughout the venue, as well as 21 water fountains. This number has nearly doubled since 2014. A tournament that eat, sleeps and breathes tradition had no trouble breaking the norm at this year’s event by taking steps towards a better environment.
With environmental awareness lingering in everyone’s ears this summer, Wimbledon isn’t the only recent sporting event to make changes. Team Sky has paired up with the Sky Ocean Rescue at this year’s Tour De France. They have unveiled a new knit design that is exclusively developed from ocean plastic material. Through these kits, Team Sky is aiming to raise awareness of an important issue and inspire others to make everyday changes to stop drowning our oceans in plastic. In order to effectively gain the attention of people all over the world, the back of Team Sky’s kits feature a large image of an orca whale that is hard to miss through herds of cyclers.
Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome commented, “The special-edition kit is fantastic and will really help to raise awareness at the Tour de France, but it’s important that the legacy continues after that, as we look to build on the amazing work Sky have done so far with their Sky Ocean Rescue campaign with our own ‘Race to 2020’ commitment.”
It’s no surprise that environmental efforts have become the forefront of conversations in every industry. However, the conversation is just beginning to hit the surface of various sporting events all over the world. It’s no longer just a relevant issue in the retail industry. Because of this, it’s only my hope that other sports will mirror the efforts of Wimbledon and Team Sky at Tour De France in the future.