Recycling is nothing new to most people in rugby, a simple and easily to understand concept to reduce waste and reuse products. In terms of rugby however, what does that really mean?
Our Sustainability Programme Manager Laice Varnum said "Rugby is one of the best sports in the World! When I think of sustainability and what it means to rugby, I think about our culture and welcomeness towards new people and new ideas." "It's through the power of that culture that we, as rugby players, coaches, referees and fans, can unite to become better stewards of the places that we call home and recycling is probably the easiest way that we can do that."
European Director Mike Mulroy has been involved in some of the biggest and best rugby tournaments in 2022 and recently spoke about what he has seen. "I was recently working with a big group of referees at a large event, they were really invested in doing their bit for the environment; they didn't use bottles of water, instead they brought their own reusable bottles with them." "Where they had to use plastics was with the energy drinks and I'm sure that's something that the large providers need to work on in the near future. The referee team was careful to separate their rubbish, bag it and label it but as we packed away I was sad to see all of the bags went into the same skip. There was no plan or challenge to the waste company to recycle or reduce the environmental impact."
TRF has created the "Rugby Recycles" programme, details of which can be found here, to help tournaments, events, clubs and teams to minimise their impact on the environment. "This will be a global programme" said Laice, "simple yet sometimes challenging things that everybody can do." "We are particularly focused on developing an easy to follow guide full of helpful tips and targets. Rugby tournaments see thousands of people in a single place for a short period and that can generate a lot of waste. We will be setting goals for these events in terms of eliminating single use plastic cups and replacing with reusable ones, ensuring that waste is separated and there is a plan to salvage anything left behind as well as sending zero waste to landfill."
Events who sign up to the programme will be able to proudly display the Rugby Recycles green badge with further incentives and merchandise available to them for commercial gain from sustainable and certified manufacturers. TRF BoD Brian Williams helped to organise the first Rugby Recycles programme with the Clark County School District, Las Vegas, during Earth month. Some of the sorted recycling can be seen above.