Tennis Australia drive against plastic waste


Tennis Australia teams up with Samsara Image: Tennis Australia

Tennis Australia has teamed up with a game-changing Australian enviro-tech start-up to reduce plastic bottle waste at the Australian Open.

The ‘Tennis Australia’ stated that 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.

Melbourne (Australia)-based Tennis Australia Limited is the governing body for tennis in Australia. It is owned by Australian States and territories. The association organizes national and international tennis tournaments including the Australian Open, the Australian Open Series, Davis Cup, Fed Cup, ATP Cup, and Australian Pro Tour.

The Australian Open is a tennis tournament held annually at the 10,500-capacity Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia. The tournament is the first of the four Grand Slam tennis events held each year, preceding the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

The ‘Tennis Australia’ further stated that 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.

Tennis Australia Chief Strategy Officer Tim Jolley put in, “Tennis Australia is proud to support Samsara’s groundbreaking technology. We are committed to minimizing 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.”

The Australian enviro-tech start-up Samsara’s process is carbon-neutral, environmentally friendly and streamlined, because it doesn’t require clear and colored 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 the Australian Government agency Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Woolworths (Australian chain of supermarkets and grocery stores) and the Australian National University.

Stated Samsara Eco Founder Paul Riley, “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.”

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 was 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 start-up Green My Plate, a local Green business, is supplying and hygienically washing reusable plates and bowls used at the Australian Open ‘Beach House’, eliminating thousands of single-use items from landfill during the tournament which has just concluded;
  • 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 Australian Open tennis ball tubes, which have traditionally been difficult to recycle;
  • Elimination of plastic lids from Australian Open tennis ball product packages; and
  • The AO22 fleet includes 10 all-electric Kia EV6s; an important milestone on the road to fully integrating electric vehicles.

Added Jolley, “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. 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 Australian Open’s environmental impact.”

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