football fans cheering their team on in a bar

Avoid plastic pint glasses: zero-waste tips for sports fans

Watching the summer's big sports events with your besties? Whether it’s cricket, cycling or other sports, give plastic the boot with these fair-play tips.
Photo of Phil Byrne with dog
By Phil Byrne    |      Published:  14 Jun 2018    |      4 minute read

Cycling enthusiasts, tennis lovers, cricket fiends, sports fans – if you're cheering for the environment, you know that we're up against some ugly opposition. We're talking about all the plastic pollution seeping into the big game experience. And then into the oceans.

It's happening at home (in front of the telly) and away (at the pub and in the stadium).

From the Principality Stadium to Edgbaston and Wimbledon to the World Cup. Don't you think plastic litter is taking the beauty out of the game? Disposable pint glasses overflow from bins and plastic memorabilia blows in the wind, ironically forgotten. Where's the passion? Where's the pride?

They say the planet's too good to go down, but we've heard that one before. With these match-day tactics, there's still everything to play for.

1. Avoid the group of death

You'll never qualify as a green sports fan if you take plastic plates, cutlery or cups out of your bag. Whether you're picnicking on Henman Hill or partying at home, show off your finger-food skills with real crockery or reusable containers.

A pizza cut into slices
The perfect formation?

2. Don't get lost in the hype

You could spend your money on a tiny plastic bowler hat or an Andy Murray mask that makes your face hurt. You could even copy Gazza and wear a huge pair of fake plastic boobs with your name written underneath them. The only question would be – why? If you want to add sparkle to your team's performance, try some eco glitter fun.

Dutch football fan wearing a wig
"What on Earth was I thinking?"

3. Bring the cup home

This is your chance to get your hands on the cup – don't throw it away (because that's really bad for the environment). Some sports fans can now put down a deposit for a reusable plastic pint pot. If that's not an option, buy your own or tell the venue to kit themselves out with a new strip of reusable plastic glasses. Look for a hole in the defence and time your run through to the bar.

Close up of a plastic cup discarded in a field with more cups in the backround
Disposable plastic cups should be relegated to the past

4. No unforced errors

Shocking but true – wine and beer bottles may contain a seal of plastic inside the metal bottle tops. Don't be defeated by these negative tactics. Go on the attack and buy a whole keg of beer from a local pub or brewery. As for the wine, find out if a local store offers a bottle refill scheme.

Metal bottle caps containing a plastic seal
Metal bottle tops containing plastic seals

5. Don’t get caught behind

Even your prima-donna striker knows how to tackle plastic bag pollution. Splash some cash on a cloth one and watch it bring home the goods – and bag you some points.

A plastic bag caught in a tree
They've hit the woodwork. It's game over.

6. Dish out the half-time oranges

Or the strawberries and cream. Ensure they're extra fresh and plastic-free by ordering a local fruit and veg box. Another way of serving up fresh food minus the plastic packaging is to bypass the supermarket aisles for a farmers' market.

Girls sports team eating oranges at half time
Credit: istock

7. Back of the net

Our favourite replica kits are likely to contain synthetic materials. With each wash they can shed hundreds of thousands of tiny plastic fibres which pass through the sewage system into our lakes, rivers and seas. Luckily, the Guppy Friend washing bag catches these miniature pollutants. It's your last line of defence.

A boy wearing a dirty football kit in the rain
There are easier ways to wash your kit
Credit: istock

8. Squeaky-bum time

This is the stage when you find out if you've really got the nerve to succeed. Should the pressure get the better of you, cover your arse by stocking up on eco-friendly toilet paper. Who Gives a Crap toilet rolls come wrapped in paper instead of plastic.

A wall of white toilet paper rolls
The lineup looks strong on paper
Credit: istock

They think it's all over...

Before you go, score some points for the planet. Please support our call for tough legislation to stop the flow of plastic pollution into the environment. is now.