Environmental Protection

Can 2013 Phoenix Open Top 2012's Waste Diversion?

The Zero Waste Challenge's goal is to divert 100 percent of the 2013 tournament's waste away from landfills and into recycling and compost facilities –- not easy for an event that claims to attract the largest galleries of any golf tournament anywhere.

Houston-based Waste Management is carrying on the Zero Waste Challenge for the second year in a row at the 2013 Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament, which the professionals will play Jan. 31-Feb. 3 at the TPC Scottsdale course. The challenge's goal is to divert 100 percent of the tournament’s waste away from landfills and into recycling and compost facilities -– not an easy task for an event that claims to attract the largest galleries of any golf tournament anywhere. The online stats indicate 518,262 people attended in 2012, slightly below the record attendance of 538,356 in 2008.

The 2012 tournament succeeded in diverting more than 97 percent of its waste and was the first major sporting event without trash receptacles, according to WM's Nov. 27 announcement, which calls the event the "Greenest Show on Grass."

"Considering the phenomenal attendance at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the Zero Waste Challenge is a significant achievement led by the Waste Management sustainability services team and embraced by The Thunderbirds and tournament vendors and patrons," said David Aardsma, WM chief sales and marketing officer. "In 2013, Waste Management continues the Zero Waste Challenge and will highlight our sustainability and environmental solutions around the course."

The company is currently recruiting 1,000 Recycling Ambassadors, volunteers who will help to educate attendees and monitor recycling and compost receptacles. A signup page is available at www.wmphoenixopen.com/volunteer.

WM/s sustainable initiatives at the course will include transporting all scrap wood used at the tournament to the Maricopa Organics Recycling Facility to be ground into mulch or biofuel supply and also reusing wastewater from the concessionaire’s kitchens in portable toilets. Sixty solar-powered compactors will be placed along the course, and four CNG-powered trucks will transport materials collected during the event, according to the company.

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