Tennis Australia has teamed up with a game-changing Australian enviro-tech startup to reduce plastic bottle waste at the Australian Open.
Under the newly-formed partnership, Tennis Australia is backing recycling innovators Samsara in their mission to end the plastic pollution crisis, through their Wildcard Ventures VC fund,
A pioneer in ‘infinite recycling technology,’ Samsara uses plastic-eating enzymes to break down plastic waste into its basic components. The resulting material can be used to create new medical and food-grade plastic products that can be recycled repeatedly without degradation.
Samsara will collect approximately 5000 used plastic water bottles during the course of Australian Open 2022, which they will recycle at their Canberra lab.
“Tennis Australia is proud to support Samsara’s ground breaking technology,” Tennis Australia Chief Strategy Officer Tim Jolley said.
“We are committed to minimising our environmental impact through a diverse range of sustainability programs. As a formal investor in Samsara we have a genuine stake in their future success.”
Samsara’s process is carbon-neutral, environmentally friendly and streamlined, because it doesn’t require clear and coloured plastic bottles to be separated. Throughout 2022, Samsara will expand their lab operation to build its first recycling plant, with a view to full production in 2023.
Other early investors in Samsara include Main Sequence, the venture capital arm founded by CSIRO, Woolworths and the Australian National University.
“We are proud that Tennis Australia is providing materials from Australia’s biggest sporting event, the Australian Open, to Samsara to showcase our game-changing recycling process,“ Samsara Eco founder Paul Riley said.
The Samsara investment is one of a number of initiatives Tennis Australia is implementing as part of the Australian Open’s growing focus on sustainability, including:
• Greenhouse gas emissions at Australian Open 2022 are being tracked as part of Tennis Australia’s commitment to the UN Sport for Climate Action Framework (UNS4CA)
• An emissions reduction plan has been formulated that focuses on eight emissions sources, in order to meet the emissions reductions targets laid out in UNS4CA
• Australian startup Green My Plate, a local green business, is supplying and hygienically washing reusable plates and bowls used at the AO ‘Beach House,’ eliminating thousands of single use items from landfill during the tournament
• The challenge of event waste, improving measurement and reducing overall landfill is a major focus.
• A dedicated recycling stream has been created to manage 60,000 AO tennis ball tubes, which have traditionally been difficult to recycle
• Elimination of plastic lids from AO tennis Ball product packages
• The AO22 fleet includes 10 all-electric Kia EV6s; an important milestone on the road to fully integrating electric vehicles.
“We’re currently in the first phase of our ‘Maximum Play, Minimum Footprint’ sustainability pathway where our focus is building strategies and capability, measuring and baselining impacts and piloting innovative programs,” Jolley said.
“These building blocks, and the development of our emissions reduction pathway, will form the backbone of our future sustainability efforts as we strive towards reducing the AO’s environmental impact.”