Five examples of golf stepping up to address plastic pollution

16 Jun 2022

Five examples of golf stepping up to address plastic pollution

Pollution from unrecycled plastics and the proliferation of single-use items is creating an environmental crisis.

Over 300 million tonnes of plastic is produced globally every year, half of which is thought to be single-use, and unrecycled plastic pollution is one of the biggest drivers of climate change and biodiversity loss.

Stemming the pollution is a pressing issue that requires innovative solutions, and many in golf are finding ways to prevent plastic pollution and generate less waste.

So what is the sport doing to help? Here are five examples of clubs and tournaments that have reduced or eliminated plastic pollution. 

Gifting staff reusable mugs

Noticing that staff were grabbing a lot of drinks on the go due to their mobile jobs, and thus using a large amount of plastic takeaway cups, Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club gifted every staff member a branded reusable mug.

It was a simple move that will save 16,500 plastic cups from landfill over the course of a year and saves an estimated 600kg of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. 

The project accompanies the club’s wider plan to eliminate single-use plastic, which includes removing plastic cups from water dispensers, swapping plastic water bottles for resealable cans and eliminating sauce sachets in favour of reusable dishes. 

Saving 50,000 water bottles

The Omega European Masters on the DP World Tour installed water fountains across the whole venue at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in Switzerland, where the tournament was hosted. 

This guaranteed access to free drinking water for players, spectators and staff and avoided the use of an estimated 50,000 water bottles.

The water fountains were part of a larger effort that also included the tournament’s goal to ban the distribution of PET plastic over the course of the week, with guests encouraged to fill up their own bottles instead of buying single-use alternatives.

Water fountains at the Omega European Masters in Switzerland.

Collecting lost golf balls

Losing your golf ball in a lake or thick woodland may be a common occurrence to many, but the impact lost balls have on the environment can be damaging.

That’s why GEO Certified Hirsala Golf co-operates with local divers to reclaim lost golf balls from water hazards around the course, while also harvesting their woodlands for balls at the end of every season.

Every year, between 10,000 and 20,000 balls are reclaimed and reused at the Finnish club, preventing them from damaging the local ecosystems and reducing the need for new balls to be produced. 

Replacing bottles with sustainable alternatives

Terre Blanche in France is another club who have committed to removing single-use plastic from their resort.

The GEO Certified club have replaced plastic bottles with mineralized water cartons that are made from renewable sources, and are handed out to golfers before every round. 

Staff have also successfully eradicated plastic straws and drinking cups from both the golf courses and their wider resort.

Sustainable alternatives to water bottles in use at GEO Certified Terre Blanche in France.

Ensuring all packaging is compostable

All takeaway packaging at GEO Certified Grange Golf Club, including coffee cups and catering packaging, is made from fully compostable materials that are produced in Ireland. 

A large percentage of this packaging is then composted on-site and used as a source of nutrients for the club’s landscaping projects.

You’ll find countless other examples of clubs finding solutions to the issue of plastic waste on the Sustainable Golf Highlights Hub. Click here to see more.

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