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Published in Sports Management 2019 issue 3

Leisure centres and sports clubs have the opportunity to help reduce waste and increase recycling, thanks to a Terracycle initiative

"Single-use’ was officially named as word of the year 2018, having seen a four-fold increase in use since 2013. Finally, it seems, global awareness of the environmental impact of single-use plastic is growing.

Our world is struggling under the weight of the waste we produce – last year, beach cleaners in the UK made headlines when they found snack packaging dating from the 1980s.

So I was pleased to hear about an initiative by recycling business Terracycle, which aims to help businesses and organisations collect and recycle hard-to-recycle waste by offering free recycling programmes, funded by brands, manufacturers and retailers around the world.

This particular initiative has been organised by Terracycle in partnership with PepsicCo subsidiary FritoLay, the makers of Walkers Crisps.

Walkers has committed to switching to 100 per cent compostable or biodegradable packaging by 2025.

Last year, Right Directions launched a campaign called #noshoesNovember alongside The Aspire Leisure Centre in Stanmore. This encouraged health clubs and leisure centres to reduce their consumption of single-use plastic blue overshoes in favour of customers simply taking off their shoes.

"As well as supporting the environment, the scheme raises money for local good causes"

The fundamental concept was to raise awareness, with an emphasis on reducing the waste we produce in the first place. Now we’re backing the Terracycle campaign.

There’s a strong argument that crisps should be outlawed from our cafés and vending machines, due to their known health impacts, but that’s a debate for another day. In the meantime, we’re encouraging sports centres and leisure centres to sign up for the initiative to become recycling centres.

There are currently 10,103 recycling stations across the UK where you can trade-in any brand of crisp packet to be made into plastic pellets and then into things like outdoor furniture. More than 1.7m packets have been recycled so far – enough to create around 750 benches.

As well as supporting the environment, the scheme raises money for local good causes, and if you’re a charity, this could go directly to you.

So get on board to help, and when customers drop off their crisps packets, perhaps we could also take the opportunity to encourage them to eat healthier snacks.

More: sportsmanagement.co.uk/Terracycle

Caroline Constantine, director, Right Directions

Leisure centres and sports clubs can become recycling centres for crisp packets © shutterstock/Moving Moment
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