We pose a challenge to organizers, athletes, and the public to go Zero Waste and plastic-free at the SEA Games.  Gold, silver, and bronze medals are good but the real winners are the environment heroes who bring with them their message of not polluting the environment. With the proper information, communication, and execution, reducing the event’s impact on the environment is a piece of cake.

Photo from Rappler

There are many ways to host a Zero Waste plastic-free events:

For Organizers, sports venues, and hotels:

  1. Provide water-refilling stations.
  2. Encourage food concessionaires and food caterers to go plastic-free.
  3. Facilitate proper waste segregation by providing properly labelled trash bins.
  4. Do away with sachets—sugar, shampoo, conditioner… Provide dispensers instead.
  5. Avoid food wastage.
  6. Do not send the waste to incinerators or thermal waste-to-energy facilities.
  7. Post signage to ensure that people understood what we are doing with the waste.
  8. Make sure that recycling and composting options are clearly stated during the event to ensure proper use of all containers.
  9. Staff each waste station with trained waste hero volunteers.
  10. Encourage carpooling among attendees.
  11. When sending out invitations, clearly advertise that one of the goals of the event is to reduce waste.
  12. If any, keep decorations to a minimum.
  13. Minimize the number of things people bring inside the venue.

For Athletes, sports fans, and guests:

  1. Refuse Single-use disposables.
  2. Bring reusable water bottle so you do not need to buy bottled water.
  3. Bring reusable cutlery and food containers especially when eating out to do away with single-use plastic packaging.
  4. Bring reusable bags for any mementos you might want to purchase.
  5. No food wasting.
  6. Choose hotels and eating establishments that encourage Zero waste practices.
  7. Do not litter.

Finally, we saw photos of plastic food containers but we also saw photos of plastic-free food venues and even a water and ice cube refilling station.  There are many stories on the ground, we ask people to send in their photos of Zero Waste plastic-free initiatives whether it’s a system initiative at the venue or individual efforts from athletes and guests.  We strongly believe that this is possible.  Other communities have hosted Zero Waste and plastic-free events, we can do this at the SEA Games.

Send your photos to: +sonia@no-burn.org

Beau Baconguis, Plastics Campaigner at Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) Asia Pacific and Asia Coordinator at Break Free From Plastic