Professional tennis tours are not always played on green courts. Thousands of people fly around the world to play or watch the game which does not on the surface give the game a sustainable credential. However, the four pinnacles of tennis, namely the Grand Slams in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York are attempting to impart a culture of recycling, sustainability and efficiency on the game.
1) The Championships at Wimbledon see a huge amount of waste: from empty champagne bottles to tea bags and left over smoked salmon. This waste is sent to a Material Recovery Facility for recycling, or non-recyclables are processed at an ‘Energy from Waste’ facility. This means that 96% of Wimbledon waste is diverted from landfill.
2) With the introduction of a simple two-streamed waste bin system at the All-England Club The Championships has seen waste recycling rise to 53% of all waste.
3) The All-England Club makes use of a water recycling plant and 95% of all water used is recycled.
4) Wimbledon is the largest annual single event sports catering operation in Europe with 350,000 cups of tea and 230,000 glasses of Pimm’s served to the tennis fans. Plastic waste is a primary concern, however, as 250,000 bottles of water are sold during the tournament.
5) The air management system in “Centre Court” processes 143,000 litres of air per second to optimise playing conditions and eight litres of fresh air per person per second is pumped into the court, even when the roof is open!
6) Wimbledon’s famous strawberries and cream are locally sourced from inside a 100 mile radius, nearly all of the strawberries coming from Kent having been picked at 5.30am on the day they are served. In total, 28,000kg of strawberries are consumed during the fortnight (which is equivalent to 112,000 punnets) with more than 7,000 litres of cream!
In Paris the Roland-Garros event became been the first French sporting event to have ISO 20121 certification in May 2014 and only the second event ever after the London 2012 Olympic Games. Other than tennis, the focus at last year’s tournament was sustainable transport with a car pooling website operating for visitors and the installation of a solar-powered electric bike charging point. Hybrid and electric cars making up more than 60% of the tournament’s fleet of vehicles meant it was certified as low-emission and the decision to stop washing the fleet with water saved a total of 226,00 litres. The French Tennis Federation launched an initiative to redistribute leftover meals to charities. 15,000 meals were handed out in 2014 alongside food already distributed by French supermarkets.
The highest-attended annual sporting event in the world is The US Open Tennis Championships. In 2014 the tournament started a carbon balancing initiative where it offset more than 2.2m miles of travel emissions from players attending the event, as well as all the fuel used on-site at Flushing Meadows. The tournament continued a composting program which saw 425 tonnes of food collected and re-used in agriculture and landscaping initiatives. More than 12,000 gallons of food grease from the US Open’s kitchens and food stalls, will be converted into biodiesel fuel.
The Australian Open held at Melbourne Park is in the middle of a £350m redevelopment plan. Its’ goal is to become one of the most sustainable sports and entertainment venues in the world. A key focus is to minimise the effects of the brutal Australian sun and building roofs have been coated in shiny coatings that reflect over 70% of the sun’s heat. This keeps buildings cooler during hot days and onsite solar installations provides around 42MWh/year. This is enough to power seven Australian houses all year round. Tennis Australia has attempted to reduce travel impact by partnering with the city of Melbourne to allow Australian Open ticket holders free access to public transport on that sporting day.