With just four weeks to go to the start of the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018 which run from 10-15 July, the local organising committee is fast at work putting on the finishing touches for the latest edition of one of the IAAF's largest global events. Among those efforts is its drive to present a pioneering example of sustainable event hosting.
The LOC's sustainability plan, unveiled 12 days ago, includes several key elements that Tampere organisers believe will help deliver one of the cleanest IAAF World Athletics Series events ever as well as providing a blueprint for future events, sporting and non, staged in Finland and elsewhere.
Water, without waste
Primary among the goals is to considerably reduce the amount of plastic that's used during the championships, specifically with the use of water in mind. That means eliminating the use of plastic water bottles which not only produce abundant plastic waste, but also waste significant amounts of water.
To tackle that, organisers will provide durable water bottles, made of BPA-free plastic, to each of the 2500 athletes, staff and volunteers expected to participate in the championships, which can be filled wherever a tap is at hand. The LOC is emphasizing the quality of local tap water, the primary source of drinking water in Finland, whose purity surpasses that of most bottled water.
Tampere organisers have endeavoured to produce a car-free championships, for both those directly involved in the event and for spectators planning to attend.
The easiest and most convenient ways to reach Tampere Stadium, which sits in the heart of the city, is on foot, by bike or via public transportation. A large bicycle parking station is located at the stadium's main entrance, open for everyone to use. There is also a city bike station in the vicinity of the stadium, where city bikes are available for rent. All volunteers will be encouraged to use bicycles.
The Tampere 2018 LOC has also partnered with a Ecofellows Ltd. who will be providing 30 city bikes to be used by event organisers during the course of the championships.
For the convenience of those travelling to the championships from outside the city, the city's main bus station and central railway station are both located within a kilometre of the stadium.
Nearly all of the accommodations for athletes and team staff will be located in the city centre, within easy walking distance of the stadium.
VIP guests will be accommodated at a hotel less than 300 metres from the stadium, eliminating the need for a fleet of dedicated vehicles. Only guests staying at the Varala Sports Institute or the Scandic Hotel Rosendahl, both located about a ten-minute drive away, will be provided with bus transportation to and from the stadium.
Through a marketing campaign and volunteer briefings, organisers will stress the importance of using public transportation to attend the championships.
To minimise food waste, all catering will be provided in a buffet format. Teams will be reminded to take waste into consideration when selecting their meals. The food offered will be primarily locally and organically produced. Food will be served on real plates, eliminating the use of disposable catering items.
Waste management and disposal
Through the careful placement and provision of a sufficient number of waste containers, the event will remain clean from trash. Staff and event visitors will be reminded to do their part in keeping the city clean throughout the event. The City of Tampere and representatives at event venues will pay special attention to the cleanliness of the city and of the event area.
A plan for waste disposal has been made in cooperation with Tampere Regional Solid Waste Management. The sorting options – plastic, bio-waste, paper, cardboard and waste-to-energy – have been chosen through careful consideration of the effects of waste on the environment. Clearly marked sorting stations will be placed next to walking paths. The waste containers will be marked with clear international instructions with guidance provided. All waste will be collected from the stations and later reused primarily as recycled materials or used as a source for energy production.
The preservation of natural resources was considered in all aspects of the event. The Tampere Stadium will use green energy for the duration of the event. The stadium lighting has been planned with energy efficiency in mind, utilising to the greatest extent possible the abundance of natural light that's available during the Finnish summer. The event area will be equipped with areas to charge mobile devices which will be available for both team members and volunteers.
Use of materials
The use of paper in the form of leaflets, handouts, prints or programmes will be avoided whenever possible. All paper products will utilise both sides to ensure efficiency and all information will be shared digitally if possible.
Event products will be functional and responsibly manufactured. Only the necessary amount will be produced. The aim is to reuse all existing material, such as pennants, roll-ups and sheets. Athletes' bibs will also be made of recycled materials. The safety pins used by the athletes will all be collected for reuse later. All excess material will be gifted to either schools or community organisations.
All visitors and volunteers will be informed of the environmental goals of the event. Eco-guides will be available at the event venue as well as dining areas to help guide visitors. The halls and rooms of the official accommodation will have informational guides on environmentally responsible behaviour.
Tampere 2018 and IAAF