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12 Sep 2019

Football clubs urged to ditch single-use plastics
BY Tom Walker

Single-use plastics are already being replaced by re-usable ones at a number of major events

Single-use plastics are already being replaced by re-usable ones at a number of major events

Professional football clubs should introduce wide-ranging measures – such as introducing returnable beer cups – to eliminate single-use plastics from their stadiums.

That is the call from the British Association for Sustainable Sport (BASIS), which is urging clubs to re-evaluate their use of unnecessary single-use plastics.

It is estimated that, in the English Premier League alone, around six million single-use plastic beer cups were used and discarded last year.

BASIS has teamed up with environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth to advocate football clubs taking up measures which are already in place across a number of other sports and venues.

Successful re-usable cup schemes have been operating at Lord’s and the Oval cricket grounds, as well as Twickenham Rugby stadium, for a number of years.

Twickenham sent 140,000 plastic cups to landfill after every match, before introducing its returnable "Fan Cup" in 2014. Since then, an estimated 9.12 million single-use plastic cups have been prevented from going to waste – enough to fill the stadium 1.7 times.

The call to ditch plastics is supported by a YouGov poll of UK football fans – commissioned by Friends of the Earth and published on 12 September – which shows that 86 per cent of fans agree football grounds should remove single-use plastics, including straws, sachets and cutlery.

Friends of the Earth is now calling on football clubs to sign its "Plastic Pledge" and to eliminate single-use plastic cups for all beer and other cold drinks – and replace them with reusable cups – by the start of the 2020-21 season.

"Football clubs across the UK should aim to be champions off the pitch, as well as on it, by giving single-use plastic the boot," said Friends of the Earth plastic campaigner Julian Kirby.

"Fans want football clubs to take action on plastic. We're encouraged that a number of clubs have already introduced measures on this issue – but need every Premier and Football League club do what it can to get rid of unnecessary single-use plastic.

"This is why we are calling on clubs to adopt Friends of the Earth's Plastic Pledge – and commit to a number of measures that leading stadiums have already introduced.

"A reusable cup scheme is one of the key steps clubs can take – this measure alone would prevent millions of single-use plastic cups being landfilled or incinerated every season. We hope every football club is up for the Cup."



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