NAME OF BEST PRACTICE:
Eco Sport Water Campaign
Coordinator: PADANIA ACQUE
Address: Via del Macello 14 26100 Cremona IT
WHERE: Cremona, Italy
WHEN: 07.10.2017 – present (ongoing)
WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: Prevention: Replacement – Reduction, Recycling: Reuse – Reprocessing
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Voluntary/promotional, Education, information, awareness raising
WASTE STREAMS: Plastics (Plastic bottles)
About: The project Acqua Eco Sport supports and promotes sporting events, amateur and professional with zero impact. The aim is to spread a virtuous model of organization and management of sporting events, promoting the consumption of public water, fresh at zero km, replacing water in plastic bottles. Organizers of sporting events but also managers of sport clubs through an accepted regulation, ensure that the sporting event or the sporting activities meet the criteria of preservation and protection of the environment and well-being people. In 2017 Padania Acque participated in 73 events and provided free 10,000 liters of water from the aqueduct thereby avoiding the consumption on thousands of plastic bottles.
Padania Acque is the integrated water service provider of Cremona Province, located in North Italy, right in the center of Po river valley; in the 115 municipalities of the province, shareholders of Padania Acque, live 360 thousand citizens, served via 2,200 km of water supply network and 2,400 km of sewage system. The Po Valley is rich in water basins and rivers but the drinkable water supply is carried out only by wells drawing on the deep aquifers that carry water directly from the Alps without human contamination. After treatment, the high quality water is distributed in the public water networks, managed in compliance with ISO 22000 food safety standard.
It is right starting from the quality and safety of our water that Padania Acque is implementing a communication and education program addressed to youngers and families about the value of water and environment protection. For this purpose, Padania Acque teaches lessons at schools, takes part to sports events, organizes exhibitions and events in city squares and carry on accurate communication via newspapers, social networks, TV and cinemas. The creation of a mascot has immediately drawn the attention of the younger kids to the company and its project. GLU GLU, a nice tap, has become friend to the children, promoting an important campaign against water waste and pollution caused by plastic bottles.
The distribution of thousands of canteens to the citizens is intended to discourage the use of plastic bottles, by replacing water in bottle with water supplied by our water networks. The protocol Acqua Eco Sport, signed in November 2017 by the 8 public companies of Water Alliance of Lombardy – Secam (Sondrio), Pavia Acque (Pavia), Sal (Lodi), Uniacque (Bergamo), Gruppo Cap (Milan), Brianzaque (Monza), Gruppo Lario Reti (Lecco) and Padania Acque (Cremona)- by Lombardy Region and by the Environment National Ministry, is aimed to promote sport events that replace the thousands of bottles with water supplied by the networks, fountains and paper glass.
Padania Acque, as a public service company, in addition to paying attention to issues such as respect for water, the fight against specks, raising awareness on the correct use of the water resource and its valorisation as a precious and excellent element for nutrition and human health, has the duty to contribute to a real revolution in the habits of citizens, promoting the quality of water as a safe, economic, easily usable but above all environmentally friendly zero impact. „Eco-sport water” events and initiatives become vehicles and testimonials of messages and positive values, but above all best practices at the organizational, management, social and environmental levels.
Knowhow: the project involves all the sport world to ensure virtuous behaviors for protection of the environment: reducing plastic waste, reusing containers and drink public water. In addition to the regulation for sporting events, the project includes a collaboration with the technical and medical staff of local sporting clubs in sporting centers, gyms and schools
Material resources: communications materials (e.g. posters, leaflets, etc…) and a two models of reusable water bottles, „Goccia”, a half liter, with the cap, comfortable and practical, designed for everyday use in any context and „Goccia Sport”, from 750 ml, with valve cap, designed for those who practice physical activity.
Human resources : Padania Acque staff, technical and medical staff of local sporting clubs
The daily use of the water bottle, filled with tap water, means not buying water in plastic bottles and therefore save money and do not pollute. In environmental terms, the saving is significant: the spread of 15 000 water bottles, assuming the use of the bottle at least once a day for 365 days, means consuming 2 million 737,500 liters of tap water instead of using 4 million bottles of plastic bottles and thus producing a reduction in plastic waste of 71 tons and 84 tons of CO2 needed to transport and dispose of them.
Thanks to the collaboration with Padania Acque, several important initiatives have been able to concretely adopt good practices related to water resources.
- An example of best practices is the 16th edition of the Half Marathon City of Cremona on October 15, 2017, the first sporting event to which Padania Acque has granted the patronage “eco sport water” (with the support of HMC Cremona) where 9 000 plastic bottles were eliminated by replacing them with public water. In the 5 refreshment points only the fresh and pure water of the aqueduct, free of plastic. The elimination of 9,000 plastic bottles, used annually in the previous ones editions, means doing less than 148 kg of plastic, 405 liters of oil and 202 kg of CO2.
- During the Classics’ streetball Memorial „Robi Telli” tournament that took place in Cremona from 23 to 25 June 2017, 1848 liters of water from the aqueduct were supplied for free, thus eliminating over 3 000 plastic bottles;
- On the occasion of the International Wheelchair Tennis Tournament which took place from 7 to 10 September 2017 at the company rowers Baldesio of Cremona, 430 liters of tap water were dispensed, thus eliminating around 500 plastic bottles;
- During the second edition of the non-competitive „Christmas Run Cremona” event that took place on December 10th 2017, 570 plastic bottles were replaced with the water distributed through paper cups.
Urban metabolism relevance
Italians are at the top of the European classification of bottled water consumption and second in the world immediately after Mexico. Every Italian drinks an average of 208 liters of bottled water a year, while the per capita consumption of water (not just for food use) is 243 liters per day. The average annual drinking water consumption for a European is 106 liters. The European Commission, on January 16, 2018, proposed to update drinking water quality standards, this would reduce water consumption in plastic bottles by 17%, with an estimated saving of 600 mil/ year for households In the European Directive the Commission has followed the recommendations of the World Health Organization, with the new parameters improving the quality standards of European waters, the potential risks are reduced from 4% to 1%. Another pillar of the new legislation, to be approved, is to improve accessibility to drinking water. In Europe, 11% of citizens suffer from scarcity of drinking water, especially in Romania where only 57% of citizens have access to drinking water, in Italy 99%. In addition, around 300 million tons of plastic are produced in the world every year; Europeans produce 25.8 million of plastic, 30% collected and recycled, 39% is burned in incinerators and, unfortunately, 31% ends up in landfills. Another disturbing fact is the so-called „marine litter” that invades rivers, seas and ocean, each year they end up in the waters of our planet 8 million.
Reducing the consumption of plastic bottles contributes to the reduction of consumption of resources necessary for their production and for their recycling (water, oil, energy), to reduction of landfill pollution, to the reduction of CO2 emissions, improving air quality in cities and not only and improving the population health; also produces economic benefits by reducing logistics and purchasing costs.
Engaged participatory processes
From the project, conceived by Padania Acque Cremona, was born the homonym protocol of agreement shared with the other public companies of water from Lombardy region. Water Alliance- Acque di Lombardia: the first in-house water network in Lombardy: Gruppo CAP (Milano), Brianzacque (Monza), Secam (Sondrio), Pavia Acque (Pavia), SAL (Lodi), Uniacque (Bergamo) e Lario Reti Holding (Lecco) and Padania Acque (Cremona).
The project is supported by numerous stakeholders from citizens, athletes, students, organizers of sporting events, sporting clubs representatives from the water industry to the Italian Ministry of Sport, the italian Ministry of the Environment, the CONI, the Regional CONI, the Lombardy Region, the Province and the Municipality of Cremona and many others.
The project, shared by the public water companies and the Lombardy Region, is not only concerned with the prevention and elimination of plastic waste, but also with the promotion of alternative economic and economic practices to plastic bottles. The project involves the sports world, provides educational meetings in schools, training meetings promoted or in collaboration with NGOs
The project involves the promotion of a tritan water bottle, an ecological material for plastic bottles for drinking water. This innovative polymer belongs to the class of co-polyesters, materials that combine good physical and chemical properties with the possibility of being recycled and the absence of harmful components. Padania Acque will implement 5 Acqua Points or 5 refreshment points thanks to which the more than 2,500 runners can quench their thirst for free with the good water network.
The project represents a strong signal and the start of important and innovative collaborations for the world of sport. It is a project that involves many sectors of society, many stakeholders with a positive impact on the family economy, promotes the importance of water, and makes citizens aware of the problems of pollution.
Sustainability and replicability
The practice can be easily reproduced and is almost mandatory to reproduce it considering the new European directive updated by the Commission „European strategy for plastic in the circular economy”(16.01.18). There are several locations where this campaign has become a permanent practice and Padania Acque is making efforts to expand it to other locations.
Once the tap water infrastructure is implemented by the companies responsible for water generation, the practice can easily become sustainable in any place in the world. Of course there is still need for the support of other stakeholders to replace bottled water with tap water in public events and to ensure that the participants in the events are informed about the possibility of drinking tap water.
Water: it is relatively easy to involve people in actions aimed at managing a vital resource for them
ECO: -„ecological”, taking into account the increasingly obvious of climate change phenomena, people have become more sensitive about environmental protection
Sport: all of us love, do sport, in one way or another; also sporting events are moments when most of the people are in their free time, feel good, feel relaxed and are more receptive to receive messages and to adopt certain causes.
As in every new project, especially when it comes to a project that proposes a relatively new concept, it is impossible to avoid the initial reluctance of some organizers of sports events, sports clubs, citizens or other stakeholders. We all know that people are adapting harder to change, it’s important to have patience and perseverance in implementing any project.