A clean sweep of plastic at schools rowing regatta
Reducing 20,000 single-use disposable plastic water bottles down to nothing is a sweeping change, but Great Britain’s National Schools Regatta (NSR) was up for the challenge.
NSR set their aim to turn their 2018 regatta into the first British bottled-water-free sports’ event. They focussed specifically on water and single use plastics. With the support of their main sponsor, Charles Stanley, they provided fresh drinking water through 1200L tanks with each athlete receiving a reusable aluminium water bottle.
At the 2017 NSR there was an estimated 20,000 single-use disposable plastic water bottles. This accumulates in weight up to 250kg, which is the same amount of plastic that enters the world’s oceans every second.
Of course water is extremely important at any sporting event but being able to consume it and then dispose of it responsibly is the key. Through NSR’s new initiative, providing water fountains and water tanks throughout the venue, so athletes, parents, coaches and spectators did not need to bring single-use plastics, was a big step forward in the right direction.
NSR promoted the campaign on social media through the hashtag #PushingForaCleanSweep. They communicated to participants, coaches and parents to reduce their consumption of single-use plastics and additional information was handed out during the event to raise awareness of the damages plastics can cause and how easy it can be to recycle and not use single-use plastics.
Bins were made out of plastic bottles to show how plastic water bottles can be re-used for other purposes.
Plans are already being made by the NSR to continue growing and improving their events to raise awareness of recycling and reducing negative environmental impacts. There are discussions about having food outlets on-site to reduce waste, improving recycling and forging possible partnerships to help manage left-over food.
For rowers and the sport of rowing, ensuring that our water sources and our natural environments are preserved is imperative. It takes everyone involved to make an impact. The NSR is one story along this path.
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