Even before spectators arrive at the gates of Uniprix Stadium for the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Montreal this week, they may already have become part of Tennis Canada’s ambitious green plan for 2010. That’s because ticket-holders ride free of charge on the Société de Transport de Montréal’s (STM) network, which many spectators take advantage of to get to the big event. Maryse Lemay, head of Tennis Canada’s green plan, says the site is also equipped with a special event Bixi bike station and a bicycle parking area.
These are all parts of the tournament’s green plan aimed at cutting transportation emissions and encouraging public and active transport. Last year, nearly half of the tournament’s 200,077 spectators used public transit at least once to get to the site. “This year, Tennis Canada has committed to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions related to the air travel of players, in partnership with the Women’s Tennis Association,” says Lemay, “so both organizations will share the cost of carbon offsets for the air travel emissions.”
The green plan’s main objective, however, is waste reduction. “We’ve done some more focused awareness-raising in terms of waste reduction to encourage people to use the recycling bins and the composting bins more frequently,” says Lemay. Though recycling has become a common feature of major events in Montreal, the Rogers Cup is one of the first to include composting for public use to help divert more waste from landfill, which began at the tournament in 2009.
Food vendors have been cooperative in purchasing a variety of mainly compostable food containers. “They’ve replaced all kinds of items like take-out platters that were difficult to recycle with corn-based compostable containers,” says Frédérik Bélanger of RCI Environment, the tournament’s waste management service. “You’ll also find all plates, containers, and utensils are compostable, the wine glasses are recyclable, compostable fry and poutine platters, which mean that food providers are creating almost no waste that will go to landfill.”
“Last year we sent 47% of our waste to landfill and we were able to divert 53%,” says Lemay. “This year we are trying to raise that level to 60% diverted from landfill.” In order to achieve the waste reduction goal, the number recycling and composting bins has been increased all over the site and more signs dot the grounds at entrances, in bathrooms, near eating areas and on many of the bins themselves. However, signs are conspicuously absent at concession stands where visitors could look at them while waiting in line and before they eat.
The tournament does have a team of volunteers helping to raise the public’s awareness of environmental issues and what Tennis Canada is doing, especially in terms of waste reduction and properly sorting waste at the source. “So [green team volunteers] walk around the site on the patios and near the concession stands and advise people where to put their empty beer cup, in the recycling, because it’s a number 5 plastic, for example.”
Several other measures have been taken to raise awareness including humourous ads on the giant stadium screens encouraging composting and recycling, and ‘did you know?’ tips in the daily program.
2010 is the final year of Tennis Canada’s three-year green plan and in the fall the not-for-profit organization will be releasing a complete report on all its green plan activities and results.
Sound: Check out the sounds of the Rogers Cup and Tennis Canada’s green plan