When Zero Means Hero













With a goal of delivering a zero-waste event this summer, the 34th America's Cup has focused on ways to reduce the amount of waste generated from event venues at America’s Cup Park (Pier 27/29) and America’s Cup Village (at Marina Green), and divert those materials away from landfill. Partnering with the City of San Francisco and Recology, event organizers will implement a number of management practices to help them meet this goal, including customer recycle stations with recycle, landfill and compost signage and bins readily visible around the event sites.

But delivering a zero-waste event requires the active participation of the public, so event organizers and the City have created a specific website to help spectators reduce their impacts through transportation, from journey planning and transit, to bike and walking maps, at 511.org/americascup.

In addition, AC34 is the first major sporting event in San Francisco to prohibit the sale or distribution of single-use plastic at event sites along the waterfront and throughout the City, having instituted this practice at their AC World Series events this past fall. Everything is compostable, including disposable service ware at concessions. So spectators are encouraged to bring reusable bottles when they visit AC venues, where they will find with free water-filling stations courtesy of Klean Kanteen. 

“We’ve set ourselves a very ambitious target to rid single-use plastic bottles from our event,” said Jill Savery, Head of Sustainability for the America’s Cup. “In addition, water hydration stations will pour local tap water—some of the cleanest in the country—thereby eliminating the unnecessary transport of drinking water and associated emissions.”

The Klean Kanteen water hydration stations will be found at both the AC Park and AC Village, starting opening day, July 4.

The Sustainability Plan was shaped by comments from Cup partners, city departments and commissioners, as well as by San Franciscans and local businesses, with the goal of helping the America’s Cup become a model sporting event and showcasing the City’s commitment to sustainability.

"We've brought together the brightest people from the Bay Area and beyond to develop a range of ideas about how to make this America's Cup a sustainable event, how to reduce emissions, reduce trash, and create infrastructure of value," said David Lewis, Executive Director of Save the Bay, at the time of the Sustainability Plan’s public introduction. "It's about operating in a way that leaves the Bay better than it was before, leaving the waterfront more vibrant and accessible, leaving the economy stronger."

Event organizers began on their journey to zero waste this past fall with the AC World Series events, when they achieved a 98% diversion rate. From donating Styrofoam to Waste to Waves where they create surfboards out of the material to instituting a first-of-its-kind plastic film recycling program to using solar stage and security lights at the venues, event organizers have sought out creative solutions to reduce both consumption and waste.

To learn more about the Cup's sustainability efforts and their commitments to ocean conservation through the AC Healthy Oceans Projects in Marin Magazine's Race for the Cup guide.