Temporary seating, structures and overlay provider Arena Group has revealed a new sustainability initiative to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, piloted at The Ryder Cup and the ATP Tennis Championships.
5,000sqm of materials – half the size of a football pitch – have since been re-used after the company donated them to community and charitable causes across the UK.
At the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles, Scotland from 23-28 September 2014, Arena Group and Green Element – Arena Group’s retained environmental management consultant – worked with The Golf Environment Organization (GEO), an international non-profit organisation that aims to improve the sustainability of the golf industry.
“Temporary infrastructure is reusable and therefore inherently sustainable, particularly given the long life-cycle of all of our products. Most of the on-site equipment we use at events returns to our warehouse and we then recycle as much of the other materials as possible. However, there are non-recyclable materials which have historically headed to landfill. This is where we want to make improvements,” said Dave Withey, Arena UK & Europe sales and marketing director.
Three main materials were identified; carpet, vinyl and Astroturf. Armed with this information, Green Element contacted local scrap stores including Remake Scotland in Kinross, who helped facilitate the donation of these materials to good causes.
William Richardson, MD at Green Element, continues: “Remake Scotland helped us to advertise the materials to local charities, small businesses and individuals. We then worked with Arena Group’s contractors who were tasked with removing (Event Tech) and disposing (William Tracey) of the materials, to establish a workable strategy for collection.”
The scale of the project attracted interest from other charities including the Community Recycling Network for Scotland (CRNS) and PKAVS who were in turn able to advertise the materials to more than 800 local organisations.
Richardson continues: “The exact amounts of material available to donate were unknown at the time of advertising, as it depended on their quality post event, but at this point we knew that there was huge interest in what Arena Group was looking to achieve. Working with the PGA European Tour we set up collection points on the Gleneagles’ site where the equipment was stored and picked up post event.”
The same approach was subsequently taken at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals held in London’s O2 Arena from 9-16 November, although on a smaller scale due to tight timeframes. In total, over 5,012sqm of carpet, Astroturf and vinyl have been redirected from landfill – half the size of a football pitch. At the Ryder Cup alone, 71% of the total carpet, Astroturf and vinyl were re-used from the two main Arena Group temporary buildings – the Aviemore Pavilion and Ryder Cup Travel Services structure.
Arena Group has been cited as a benchmark contractor with Susie Tomson, Ryder Cup Green Drive project manager, from GEO, comments: “It was great to have Arena so engaged with helping Ryder Cup Europe deliver their sustainability programme and make real changes on the ground with a positive community benefit. We have worked hard to engage with all the suppliers, initially setting a benchmark for sustainable procurement and operational delivery. Arena have really stepped up to the mark and set a fantastic example for others to follow.”
Arena Group’s Dave Withey added: “These materials have gone on to make a real, tangible difference to organisations ranging from local schools and playgroups to churches and charities. It’s has been a huge success and something that we are looking to replicate across other events during 2015. Being more aware of the impact major events have on the environment is something that we are passionate about at Arena Group. We are also working with Green Element on a retained basis to decrease the carbon footprint across all areas of our business, starting with our Arena Seating premises in Membury.”
This year’s initiative follows the success of London 2012 Olympics, where Arena Group pioneered a similar approach. On the Horse Guards Parade Beach Volleyball project over 95% of the stock used across the 32 acre site was returned to hire stock or donated to local causes. This included 4,500 tonnes of sand donated to volleyball courts across London, 2,000sqm of rubber matting to a gymnastics centre and 4,000sqm drainage membrane to community gardens.