World Cup Soccer: The Greenest World Cup Competition Ever

The biggest sporting event in the world, World Cup is well underway. Soccer has a gigantic fan base that loves to travel to watch their teams compete, and World Cup fervor has brought a lot of people flying into South Africa, staying in hotels, getting transported to and from the stadiums all over the country. In addition to the emissions produced by all the travel, there will be a temporary but significant increase in demand for South Africa’s largely coal-generated power. This sounds like a big environmental negative.

But there are some very green aspects to this year’s World Cup, and it is worth highlighting those. The stadiums are greener, with a big focus on recycling, reduced waste, and efficient people movement.

But my favorite green innovation in the 2010 World Cup is the uniforms being worn by Team USA and eight other teams. The jerseys are made of a high performance material produced entirely from recycled plastic bottles. The stretchy, durable fabric is 15 percent lighter than a standard soccer shirt, and has thousands of laser-bored holes for ventilation. How is that for being green and high-tech at the same time?

Nike has provided these remarkable outfits for the teams, and I am told they are available at retail for about $70. I like this trend. Other vendors have been offering clothing made from recycled plastic for some time, but we can thank the 2010 World Cup for bringing this green innovation to our attention.What a great way to keep plastic bottles out of landfills!

I wonder if the shirts are recyclable to make more shirts?

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June 2010
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