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How Tottenham Hotspur is Leading the Way in Sustainability

In a new sustainability report, Tottenham Hotspur leads the English Premier League in reducing single use plastics, reducing waste and more

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© Tottenham Hotspur

This blog was written by Susie Goodell, Ocean Conservancy’s Communications intern for the Spring 2021 term and a member of the Dartmouth College Class of 2023, majoring in Environmental Studies. She is the Build Chair for the Dartmouth chapter of Habitat for Humanity and a scouting intern for the Dartmouth football team. Susie loves spending time on the coast of Maine with her dog.

The English Premier League Sustainability Table was created by CEO of Sport Positive Summit, Claire Poole, and her team at Sport Positive in the United Kingdom. This organization rates teams across the Premier League on actions taken in a variety of environmental categories. This year, Tottenham earned the top spot by getting cars off the road on match days, embracing clean and renewable energy and reducing single-use plastics. Those are only a few highlights; the entire body of work by the Club is like a great goal preceded by build-up play—a tiki-taka of environmental action if you will.

What does it mean for our ocean?

We spoke with Poole and Spurs’ Head of Public Relations Tony Stevens to take a deeper look at the impact of this work and where it is headed in the future. Our focus is on some of the actions that are likely to have the biggest impact on our ocean. For a full listing of all of Spurs’ environmental actions, please check the Sport Positive Sustainability Table here.

Single-Use Plastics

Let’s start with plastics. Tottenham Stadium has eliminated plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and all plastic disposable packaging that accompanies these items. These reductions mean a significant number of single-use plastic items are not entering the waste stream nor are they ending up in the ocean. Here are some highlights:

  • The Club has implemented a reusable beer cup scheme at its stadium where cups are collected after matches, taken off site to be washed and returned for further use. The cup supplier is U.K.-based
  • Plastic caps on the beer kegs sold to the stadium are saved and returned to the supplier for reuse.
  • New stadium contracts will include a requirement to cut single-use plastics.

These are important steps that Tottenham is taking that will help protect the ocean and the marine organisms that live there. Using fewer single-use plastic products that are damaging to the ocean is a critical part of the solution to plastic pollution. Tottenham is setting an example on a large stage that will inspire others to take similar action.

sustainable resources and recycling bins
© Tottenham Hotspur

Sustainable Transport

Tottenham is also making strides in the realm of sustainable transport, particularly on matchdays. Carbon emissions from transportation accelerate climate change and affect ocean health by increasing ocean acidification and driving rising seawater temperatures. The club is implementing measures to protect the ocean and reduce transportation emissions for both fans and staff members. Here are some examples:

  • The organization has been encouraging fans to cycle to matches, including adding bike racks at their facilities to promote the initiative. They are close to their goal of having at most 23% of fans—approximately 14,250 individuals—travelling to matches by private car. This is a major reduction: at the old stadium, an average 22,500 out of 36,000 fans travelled by private car.
  • Tottenham also created the “Cycle to Work” program with Cycle Solutions and added more bike racks at their offices to encourage staff members to commute using more sustainable transportation.
  • The Club has access to a fleet of electric Audi e-tron cars for daily business. There are also charging stations available across all Spurs sites.

Thousands of people flock to the stadium to watch the Spurs play, and initiatives like these reduce carbon emissions, particularly on matchdays. It is important that the club is actively working to lessen their environmental impact and, in the process, setting an example for other clubs to follow.

Waste Management

The Club has also made great progress in terms of waste management. Major sports events generate a lot of waste, so it is important that teams take steps to properly handle it and keep our ocean clean. Here are some steps that the club has taken to lesson waste:

  • Tottenham has adopted a zero-waste-to-landfill policy. This means that the club is working to reduce the amount of waste it sends to landfills.
  • The Club’s sites have both dry mixed recycling bins and general waste bins with instructions on which items fit in which bin. Dry mixed recycling bins are solely for empty plastic and glass bottles, empty cans, paper and small carboard pieces. The contents of these bins are taken to a Materials Recovery Facility in Edmonton, Enfield, where the waste is turned into quality, single-stream materials. These can then be sent to companies to be re-processed and reused.
  • Leftover food from events are given to charity for local food distribution.

It is encouraging to see groups such as Tottenham Hotspur prioritizing the planet and sending a message about what we can do to protect the environment. As the stadium gears up for a new season and major events, such as Lady Gaga’s tour, sustainability is more important than ever. Spurs have shown us why they are recognized as the English Premier League’s most sustainable club and continue to be an inspiration to other sports organizations around the world.

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