Why we want to say ‘NO’ to sports waste!
Our enjoyment of sport depends on a healthy and flourishing environment. As a result of climate change, we’ve been experiencing hotter, drier summers with more intense and longer heatwaves and droughts. This makes playing summer sports like tennis and cricket less enjoyable, jeopardising the health of players from heat-related stress. Last summer, the Australian Tennis Open had to enact a new extreme heat policy[i].
Unfortunately, the very activities we love are contributing to the problem. In Australia, over 1,000 tonnes of golf clubs, ski boards, boots and poles, basketballs and tennis balls go to landfills each year.[ii] Many of these products and equipment are made from complex and synthetic materials which take decades if not centuries to break down[iii].
In recent years, growth in the manufacture of sports equipment has led to shorter product life cycles, increased waste and therefore, higher disposal rates. That means more material such as plastic is entering landfills and finding its way into our oceans and ecosystems, contributing to greenhouse emissions and destroying the biodiversity of the planet.
It’s not just the disposal of these items that places stress on the planet – it’s the manufacture. The metal made from mineral resources and synthetic materials made from fossil fuels entails huge energy inputs that generate greenhouse emissions. It was calculated by Adidas that 95% of the direct environmental impact of sporting equipment was in manufacturing.
How can sport be part of the solution?
The sports equipment industry in Australia has a vital role to play in solving the problem of sports waste. Initiatives like Game On Recycling are researching and developing innovative recycling solutions to turn sports waste into viable materials for manufacturing. That saves the exploitation of natural resources and the associated energy to extract them in the production of new products.
Recycling also prevents these items entering and polluting our waterways, oceans and ecosystems, where they can do untold damage to animal habitats.
At Game On Recycling, we believe that sport can bring mental, emotional and physical health, it can create communities and unity, personal growth and empowerment. Sport should be a beacon of light and lead by example. That's why we want to teach ourselves to be part of the solution.