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  • What Recycling Measures Are in Place at the World Cup?

What Recycling Measures Are in Place at the World Cup?

Jul 01 2018 Read 843 Times

With the FIFA World Cup now reaching the business end of the tournament, fans in attendance are in almost unanimous agreement that it has been a complete success – at least from a hosting point of view. Supporters of current cup holders Germany might be disappointed with their team’s performance, but no one can deny that Russia have put on a magnificent welcome for the visitors.

Not only has there been none of the violence or trouble predicted by some sections of the media, but the stadium, Fan Fests and other areas of the host cities affected by the extravaganza have also been remarkably clean. This is down to a robust waste and recycling programme implemented by FIFA and the Russian Local Organising Committee (LOC).

The FIFA World Cup by the numbers

This year’s tournament will be the 21st incarnation of the most watched sports event in the world. Here are a few facts about the competition and the waste it creates:

  • 32 teams compete at the World Cup
  • Up to one million fans from other countries will visit Russia during the tournament
  • Moscow has over 1,000 hotels with a total of approximately 66,000 rooms, capable of accommodating around 163,000 people at the same time
  • The 2014 World Cup in Brazil created 776 tonnes of recyclable and 1,595 tonnes of non-recyclable waste
  • It was the first time that separate bins for general waste and recycling were used, which saw 416 tonnes of recyclable waste collected (53% of total recyclable waste)
  • That total was 39% higher than FIFA’s intended target before the tournament

This time, FIFA’s bespoke strategy is hoping to go one step further, although it does not mention specific targets as it did last time.

Waste Management Concept

Named the Waste Management Concept, this strategy is not unlike Britain’s own Litter Innovation Fund and includes concrete steps for how Russia will combat waste production and littering. These measures include minimising the creation of waste in the first place via the use of digital means of communication where possible, double-sided printing for all physical documents, elimination of non-recyclable cutlery and plates and many others.

The programme also outlines how it will place yellow bins (for recyclable material) and black bins (for general waste) at all public locations in and around stadiums and Fan Fest zones. What’s more, all technical areas will feature further segregation of waste; blue bins will be used for paper and cardboard, yellow for plastic, green for glass, red for aluminium, brown for hazardous e-waste and black for general waste.

The strategy also includes detailed guidelines for the procedure of cleaning and waste removal, the distribution of responsibility amongst those carrying out that work and a monitoring and reporting infrastructure to allow for easy analysis of its functionality.

Leading by example

Already at this year’s tournament, Japanese fans have shown a shining example to their counterparts from other countries by tidying up in the stadium after their games – and their good deeds have encouraged similar behaviour from Senegalese and Polish fans as well.

It’s hoped that the recycling measures put in place at this year’s tournament will prove to be – like all other aspects of the World Cup so far – a huge success, and a blueprint for future incarnations of the event to follow. Who knows, perhaps advances in modern technology (such as the use of forensic science and artificial intelligence in the fight against plastic pollution) may completely transform waste disposal practices by the time four years have passed.

For now, all we can do is sit back, relax and watch the spectacle unfold in Russia… then clean up after ourselves when it’s all done.

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