As the weather finally warms up, professional golfers, sponsors, vendors and an estimated 500,000 fans will enjoy the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the largest golf tournament in the U.S. Waste Management (WM), involved with the Open for 16 years, and title sponsor since 2010, in partnership with the PGA Tour and Thunderbirds, has also succeeded in making the Open the largest zero waste event in the world. From Feb. 1-7, 2016, the tournament will have an incredibly positive economic impact on Maricopa County, while inflicting minimal negative impact on the environment.
The tournament joins Jackson-Barrett Car Auction, spring training and NASCAR, in making first quarter a profitable one for Arizona. It, alone, brought in over $227 million and provided over $9 million for charity. Of course, there are big prizes and international publicity for the nation’s top golfers. But there are also high-visibility opportunities for local small businesses, like Turf & Needle, the Artigue Agency, and Sticky Media, as well as corporations, like Ford and Coca Cola.
The tournament also provides fun employment for security personnel, like Charles Mack, here with Pro Em for a second year. “I love the excitement and the crowds,” he says.
Most people have heard about the infamous 16th hole. But what makes the WM Phoenix Open most unique is the environmental education fans receive. “We show them how to do more to waste less,” says WM External Communications Manager Janette Micelli. “The public gets tips on how to recycle and compost at home. Our slogan is ‘Learn it here. Live it everywhere.’”
On Feb. 4, executives attended the 6th annual Executive Sustainability Forum, where they could share best practices. On Saturday, Feb. 6, fans are encouraged to wear something green (Green Out) in exchange for contributions to three conservation charities. Fans everywhere can learn more at www.thinkgreen.com.
There are three zero waste stations where fans learn about recycling, while spinning a wheel for prizes, and 6000 recycling/compost bins. Huge landscaping displays, like the floating logo with 144,000 used golf balls or the Waste Management Mosaic logo with 2000 reused balls and 8000 tees, remind everyone of the value of recycling. Use of solar energy, 12 natural gas trucks, purchase of renewable energy from APS, and many other actions by the venue, sponsors and vendors ensure that nothing from the tournaments goes into a landfill, and that the WM Phoenix Open remains the greenest show on earth.