4 June 2018

UK football clubs urged to do more on single-use plastics

UK politicians are pressing for the country’s football leagues to take stronger action on reducing plastic waste.

The Environmental Audit Committee recently wrote to the heads of the four separate football leagues in the UK about the issue, covering England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Chair of the Committee, Mary Creagh MP, said in her letter that “I believe there is an amazing opportunity for football clubs across the country to mobilise the power of sport to help people make the shift away from single-use plastics.”

Noting that the English Premier League had already committed to phasing-out plastic across their own premises, she went on to ask if similar action was considered across the 20 clubs in the league. Further action could also be made on initiatives, such as a deposit return scheme, she said. An England-wide plan to introduce such a scheme is under consultation at the moment.

So far, football clubs have been slow to respond to sustainability concerns. Tottenham Hotspur is one notable exception, and has made plans to remove single-use plastics once its new stadium opens this year. Manchester City also incorporated conservation, recycling and energy efficiency measures at its new training academy.

"Plastic litter ruins our streets, chokes our seas and endangers wildlife. We all need to do our bit to tackle the scourge of plastic pollution…I want the UK’s football leagues to show leadership on this issue," Ms. Creagh said in a statement.

The Committee’s recent inquiry into disposable packaging found that 700,000 plastic bottles are littered every day in the UK.

On the national level, the government has pledged to take stronger action on the issue with a flurry of policy announcements in recent months. These are designed to eradicate all ‘avoidable’ plastic waste within 25 years.

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