All Cricket fans know The Oval as being one of the topmost cricket stadiums in the world. Since its inception in 1845, it was the first ground in England to host International Test Cricket in September 1880. Home to the Surrey County Cricket Club, it is also the traditional location of the final test match of the English season.
The Oval also hosted England’s first international football match against Scotland. It served as a spot for national football development till a separate national stadium was constructed for the purpose. Along with being an international sporting venue, The Oval also serves as a conference and business location.
The bottom-line is that The Oval is a pretty important and significant site and it is on course to become the first stadium of its kind to ban all single-use plastic. Reports say that they have already achieved 90% of its target – a year earlier than what they had planned.
A statement by Craig Bennett, Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth, said: “The Oval is hitting sixes when it comes to beating plastic pollution. The Oval has shown that going plastic-free can be done, now we need more stadiums across the country to follow suit.”
These are strong statements meant for equally strong measures taken by The Oval that include:
- Hot drinks will be served in biodegradable cups and all soft drinks will be served in reusable cans and not bottles.
- Alcoholic drinks like wine and champagne will be served in reusable glassware
- All plastic cutlery and straws have been replaced by biodegradable wood and paper products. There will be no distribution of condiment sachets on the ground.
- Food will be provided in recyclable cardboard containers and the use of plastic bags has been banned.
Fourteen free water fountains have been installed around the ground which will discourage the sale of bottled water. This measure has already displayed success with almost 5000 fans using these facilities during England’s recent One Day International against Pakistan.
All reusable glassware is available on a deposit scheme where fans will be able to return their glassware for their £1 deposit or keep it with them as a souvenir. This deposit is then donated to charities like the Evelina London Children’s Hospital. Bottled wine is distributed for a deposit of £5. The club has increased the number of deposit redemption points and charity bins for glassware. Contactless redemption has also been introduced for the first time where fans will be able to tap their card and receive their deposit.
This entire programme was launched in 2018 in order to be completely plastic-free by 2020. The efforts picked up tremendous pace and 90% of completion has been achieved. During the last season, the club’s efforts have resulted in the elimination of about 690,000 pieces of single-use plastic.
The final stages of the programme will include obtaining coffee cups that could be sent for recycling instead of composting and increasing the use of delivery packaging. The stadium is also following ORCA, a unique processing solution that converts waste food into liquids. This will also reduce the number of garbage trucks that travel to and from the stadium.
With the onset of the ICC World Cup this past month, it is estimated that during the matches at this esteemed stadium at least 10,000 plastic pint glasses will be recycled. If all other major stadiums of the world follow suit it can globally lead to a more environment-friendly sporting experience.