SUSTAINABLE SOFTBALL

During the planning process of the project, and in preparation for the meetings with the different city councils involved in the championship, the need to request an increase in the frequency of container removal was already raised.

It was clear that the consumption of plastic and paper would increase, but when we started to configure the needs, we discovered with astonishment what we were going to cause. Not only would we increase road traffic with the distribution of the bottles in the warehouses at the sites, but the lorries would have to come to empty the containers more often. And all at the expense of the institutions that were already collaborating with the championship.

At the end of July in Catalonia and in the Baix Llobregat the temperature was expected to be high, and we tried to outline the types of water consumer users according to their activity.

To begin with, we had a group (the largest in number – 525) which were the players, who are active from 2 hours before the match (travel, warm-up…), volunteers, field maintenance staff, referees, commissioners, scorers, press and photographers and organisation are the groups identified and to whom we assigned a relative value according to their physical “activity”.

GROUPACTIVITY LEVELWATER CONSUM PER MATCH
TEAMSVERY HIGH1,5
MAINTENANCE CREWVERY HIGH1.5
UMPIRESVERY HIGH1.5
VOLUNTEERSHIGH1,0
MEDIA/FOTOHIGH1,0
COMMISSIONERS, SCORERSMEDIUM0,5
ORGANISATIONMEDIUM0,5

Once the volumes were assigned, we had to identify how many people from each collective moved in each party and “endow” them with their assigned doses, PER MATCH:

GROUPPAXCONSUM PER PAXTOTAL PER MATCH
TEAMS501.575
MAINTENANCE CREW41,56
UMPIRES61,57.5
VOLUNTEERS201,020
MEDIA/PHOTO101,010
COMMISSIONERS, SCORERS60,53
ORGANISATION100,55
  TOTAL LTS126.5

With a simple multiplication of 126.5 litres per match by 99 matches in the calendar we would have 12,532 litres of water to distribute to the four venues.

Using 0.500 ml bottles we would need 25,046 single-use containers, which would come in cardboard boxes of 24 each… 1,043 cardboard boxes or more plastic wrap.

We no longer considered confirming whether it would be more economical for the organisation to buy the water in individual 500 ml bottles or in jerry cans. The option was not even considered.

This is where the possibility of using recycled plastic jerry cans with 20 litres of water and the corresponding dispenser came in. The supplier also collects the drums for cleaning and reuse. …. Plastic 0.

As an initial budget, the 626 jerry cans that represented 12,532 litres of water were requested and distributed among the 4 venues. The jerry cans that were not used in VIL and GAV were transported to STB as it was the last venue to close its activity.

But the problem persisted… how they are going to drink, even if we put a fountain…. Well, some of them bring their bottles…. But… those who don’t?

Solution: the organisers invested some 1,800 € in acquiring and personalising 800 units of 400 ml bottles, which they distributed free of charge among the participants, making it a gift of participation for all those involved: volunteers, media, organisation, federations…

And this was the tip of the iceberg… Food and beverage service was offered at the four venues, to cope with the long sessions of participation, so the public was also going to do their “bit” with the distribution of drinks in plastic cups. Fortunately, the four municipalities have very strong sustainability policies, so we received the necessary support for the project.

The four venues faced the challenge of not using single-use cups in 2 different ways.  Sant Boi took advantage of the celebration of its 50th anniversary to produce a commemorative cup and the other 3 sites used the services of washing recyclable cups.

In a budget of hundreds of thousands of euros (even if they were tens of thousands), there is always the option to invest in sustainability… on a small or large scale, and above all our mission as responsible for any action we have the obligation to educate… We have learned it a little late, but that does not mean that we are not going to collaborate.

What have we achieved with this action?  According to the Office of Climate Change and Sustainability of the Barcelona City Council, we have saved 264 kg of plastic that have not become waste, which is equivalent to the packaging that 223 people in Barcelona produce during a week, or 14 m3 of plastic volume, and we have saved 958 kg of CO2 equivalent by not producing the packaging and not having to manage its waste.

We invite all organisers to dedicate a small part of their budget to a sustainable gesture, we will all benefit from it.

Organising Committee Women’s European Championship 2022