Sustainability: How can golf clubs beat plastic pollution?

By: June 5, 2018

I am sure that you have heard of how serious is the plastic pollution worldwide. If not, then let me give you some insights:

  • 91% of plastic waste isn’t recycledAnd since most plastics don’t biodegrade in any meaningful sense, all that plastic waste could exist for hundreds or even thousands of years (Source).
  • 8 MILLION METRIC TONS of plastic winds up in our oceans each year.
  • 100 BILLION plastic bags are used by Americans every year.
  • ONE MILLION plastic bottles are bought EVERY MINUTE around the world — and that number will top half a TRILLION by 2021. Less than half of those bottles end up getting recycled.

These statistics explain why golf clubs should take their part to beat the plastic solution.

plastic pollution_World environment day logos

The associations of Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland, South Africa, Netherlands, Flanders, Scotland, England, Italy, Iceland and South Africa have made the first steps forward to set new leadership targets and provide further support to grass roots clubs.

They also partnered with the Golf Environment Organization who is well-known for its OnCourse® – an online programme for the sustainable golf course and club management.

A major part of OnCourse® is devoted to ‘sustainable materials’, with explicit guidance and resources to help facilities achieve zero waste to landfill and to minimize/eliminate the use of petroleum-based and single-use plastics.

Below you can find 9 ideas that can help you to minimize the usage of plastic bags in your golf club:

Sustainability - Golf-driving out plastic pollution

Plastic pollution & golf balls

It is not on the list, but we should not forget that situation when golf balls can fall into the ocean or sea. They also contribute to the plastic pollution.

A 2017 Chemical and Engineering News report estimated 1.2 billion golf balls are made every year, and only a fraction of those become only a fraction of all the plastic pollution that reaches our oceans.

New York Times story in 2010 reported that an estimated 300 million disappear each year in the United States alone. Just to have a clear and better understanding: for every 1,000 submerged golf balls, several kilograms of microplastic are shed into the ocean.

Here I would like to share with you a very nice initiative from the US. The ‘Plastic Pick-up’ non-profit organization in cooperation with the Action Council, in 2016 have removed over 20,000 golf balls from the ocean floor of just one small cove in Carmel Bay below Pebble Beach Golf Course.

This equates to 2,000 pounds of plastic. Since the beginning, they collected 35,000 golf balls from the ocean.

At the same time week be happy since more people are integrating some forms of sustainability into their lifestyle and becoming environmentally conscious. Last year a Unilever survey revealed that 33% of consumers prefer brands they believe are doing social or environmental good.

It would be great to grow the number of golfers who prefer environment conscious golf courses and clubs.