Waste Management (WM), Phoenix, was recently honored with the “Water Stewardship Influencer Award” for its awareness and conservation efforts at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Green Sports Alliance and Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), both based in Portland, presented the award at the Sports and Sustainability Symposium held at Arizona State University Jan. 17. WM says in a press release that BEF teamed with the Green Sports Alliance to honor organizations that are not only exhibiting excellence in water conservation and restoration, but also leveraging their position to bring others along with them to directly grow a movement around environmental water stewardship.
"For the past five years, Waste Management has helped to move the needle for corporate environmental water stewardship in Arizona,” says Todd Reeve, the CEO of Bonneville Environmental Foundation, in the press release. “Leveraging the power and influence of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, they have driven awareness and resources to conserving water, reusing grey water and restoring freshwater to nature in a state and at a time when it could not be more important. For these reasons and more, we are thrilled to partner with the Green Sports Alliance to honor Waste Management with the first Water Stewardship Influencer Award.”
WM and the tournament hosts, The Thunderbirds, implement water conservation measures to ensure water is used responsibly at the WM Phoenix Open, which was held last Jan. 29 through Feb. 4. Measures include utilizing hand sanitizer at handwashing stations instead of water and collecting grey water in the kitchens across the course, as well as in the hospitality bars on the 16th hole, to be reused in portable toilets.
Working with BEF and the Change the Course, a national freshwater restoration campaign, WM says it and The Thunderbirds also support the restoration of Northern Arizona rivers and streams. This collaboration, also supported by M Culinary, Kohler, Coca-Cola North America and Swire/Coca-Cola, has restored 236 million gallons to the Verde River and other freshwater ecosystems in Arizona since 2015, including 75 million gallons of water in 2018, WM says. These restoration efforts have supported ranchers, farmers and communities across the Verde River Valley.
“We’ve used the power of sports, the most-attended PGA TOUR tournament and the largest verified zero waste event in the world as our platform to drive awareness about conserving water, reusing grey water and restoring freshwater,” says Janette Micelli, the external communications manager for WM. “Embracing leading by example, we’ve also educated and engaged hundreds of thousands of fans with messaging on how they too can conserve water in their daily lives.”
This year, WM is celebrating its 10th year as the title sponsor of the PGA TOUR’s largest-attended event. Over the last decade, WM says it has turned the Phoenix Open into the most sustainable sporting event on the planet. Since 2013, WM says it has diverted 100 percent of tournament waste through recycling, composting, donation, reuse or creating energy, which totals more than 6.4 million pounds of material going to its next best use.