Waste Management at FIFA 2018 World Cup

With the FIFA World Cup now reaching the business end of the tournament, fans in attendance are in almost unanimous agreement that it has been a complete success – at least from a hosting point of view. Supporters of current cup holders Germany might be disappointed with their team’s performance, but no one can deny that Russia have put on a magnificent welcome for the visitors.

With an aim of reducing the impact of FIFA World Cup Russia and raising the awareness of climate change, FIFA has launched a campaign that encourages the ticket applicants to offset the carbon emissions resulting from their travel to the tournament for free! When a FIFA World Cup Russia ticket holder signs up to participate in the campaign, FIFA will offset 2.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (tCO2e), which is the average emission per ticket holder travelling from abroad.

Waste Management Concept

Fifa have ensured efficient and sustainable World Cup-related waste management, with waste-reduction measures including banning non-recyclable tableware, cutlery, packaging and plastic bags from stadiums, and offering hand dryers instead of paper towels in event toilets and using digital rather than paper-based communications “wherever possible”. FIFA have also committed to drive behaviour change among fans and stadium staff by offering a waste training programme to all employees and providing spectators with information on what type of waste can be recycled, bans on single-use items or the use of recycled materials is noticeably absent from the strategy. In Brazil, the tournament saw 39% more waste recycled than FIFA’s target of 320 tonnes after separate bins for recycling and general waste were used for the first time– but the event nonetheless created 776 tonnes of recyclable and 1,595 tonnes non-recyclable of waste, with no less expected to be produced in Russia this summer.

Already at this year’s tournament, Japanese fans have shown a shining example to their counterparts from other countries by tidying up in the stadium after their games – and their good deeds have encouraged similar behaviour from Senegalese and Polish fans as well. It will be particularly interesting to see if the biggest single-sport event in the world lives up to its tall claims regarding environmental sustainability.

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