Organizers of America’s Cup expect at least five million people to turn out for this year’s spectacular yacht race in San Francisco, which is slated to be a zero-waste affair. In a mammoth undertaking, spectators of the June and September events will be unable to obtain disposable bottles of water, non-compostable picnic utensils, or plastic bags at the race. The event organizer’s admirable ‘Sustainability Plan’ falls right in line with new green policies implemented by the San Francisco Port Authority, who also mandate that there be no “intentional release of balloons.”

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image © marko8904

The Cup’s 2013 location is likely to attract such a substantial crowd, making an eco-aware event all the more necessary. With millions of people gathered for races, the risks of plastic waste being carried into the port and out to the Pacific Ocean are enormous. While aspects of the plan simply meet policies instituted by San Francisco Port Authority, the Sustainability Plan creates the possibility for the race to serve as a huge eco-consciousness raising event. Spectators will be provided with options for recycling and composting, and stations for refilling reusable water bottles.

Event organizers also plan to actively to use the event as a platform for education, working with NGOs such as Sailors for the Sea to “raise awareness about the urgent issues facing our oceans and to provide a platform to amplify activists currently taking place to protect the marine environment.” They aim to highlight three vital issues — the need to establish more marine protected areas, to reduction of the amount of plastic debris going into the ocean and a hope to increase consume demand for sustainable sea life. The organizers add that “ocean conservation and environmental stewardship will be pervasive throughout the event.”

It’s not just the spectators who will be encouraged to go green. America’s Cup’s Sustainability Plan also addresses their own “duty to act as responsible environmental stewards” in their use of the oceans. Furthermore, the broad reaching plan looks to reduce the carbon footprint of the event by providing low-emission fuels for event boats, prioritizing the use of existing materials rather than purchasing new equipment for the event, and a host of other measures with an aim to raise the bar “not only for the sport of sailing, but in delivering a sporting event with a purpose — one that leaves a lasting positive legacy for host communities and our natural environment.”

The Sustainability Plan is impressive stuff, and with over a year before the race, America’s Cup may well be able to pull off a ground-breaking large-scale green sporting event. Just remember to bring your reusable water bottle, and hold onto your balloons!

+ America’s Cup

+ America’s Cup Sustainability Plan [PDF]

via Triple Pundit

Lead Image © flickr user naotakem