Waste Management Phoenix Open | Waste Management

This project demonstrates what can be achieved when you intentionally apply design to achieve sustainability goals. The entire event from conceptualization to execution on a large scale was a big success. This one-of-its kind tournament achieved 100% diversion.
--Environmental Leader Product & Project Awards judge

As the title sponsor of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the company set out to do more than simply put its name on a PGA TOUR event. The goal was to use the event to showcase its “Think Green” mission and turn golf’s most highly attended tournament (525,000 fans) into its most sustainable one. The company aimed to make the tournament a zero waste event by diverting 100% of all waste generated at the TPC Scottsdale course to recycling, composting or waste-to-energy. Waste Management established metrics and tracking methods to monitor progress toward the goal and other environmental benchmarks (water use, fuel for transportation, electricity, etc.) and societal and economic impacts.

waste management image reducedWaste Management created a “Zero Waste Challenge” campaign to communicate and achieve zero waste, developed an “acceptable materials” document to control what came onto the course, and established guidelines based on recycling, composting and end-of-life product factors. The company held vendor meetings in advance to present acceptable material guidelines and gain buy-in through a Zero Waste Participation Agreement. A “Sponsor Summit” engaged 100+ sponsors, showing how to be part of the tournament’s mission and to maximize investment. Recruitment and training of 1,000 local volunteers as Recycling Ambassadors took place to help fans properly dispose of materials. All trashcans on the course were replaced by 5,795 recycling and compost bins, with instructions on what to recycle and compost. Multiple touchpoints made patrons aware of Zero Waste Challenge and their role in making it happen – on-course signage, program ads, and zero-waste videos on shuttle buses, at the course entrance and at other on-course locations.

The 100% diversion rate was attained, specifically, by sending 86% of materials to composting/recycling facilities and 14% of materials converted to waste-to-energy. Energy management goals for the tournament were met via a commitment to renewable energy (wind, solar, biomass), use of innovative tactics (greywater from concession kitchens reused in portable toilets to save water), solar arrays (powered hospitality tent on 18), and transportation vehicle (63% of vehicles operated on alternative fuels).

Judges said this life-cycle approach to prepare and execute an event earns points for the overall execution, scale, and the message that was sent out.