More than half of Premier League clubs still use environmentally damaging single-use plastic water bottles, a Sportsmail investigation has found.
Of the top flight’s 20 sides, just five told this newspaper that they no longer use the ocean-clogging products at their training pitches in a finding that flies in the face of green initiatives and which Greenpeace UK have described as ‘shocking’.
Much has been made of the competition’s commitment to looking after the planet, and only this week the Premier League announced that it had committed to the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework.
More than half of Premier League clubs still use environmentally damaging single-use plastic water bottles, a Sportsmail investigation has found
In September, Tottenham took on Chelsea in what was billed as ‘the world’s first net zero carbon football game at an elite level’.
But the London sides are two of 13 clubs who responded that single-use bottles still feature at their training grounds — although both say they are taking measures to reduce usage.
The other 11 are Crystal Palace, both Manchester clubs, Liverpool, Norwich City, Brighton, West Ham, Aston Villa, Arsenal, Burnley and Wolves. All say they are cutting usage.
One insider at a top-flight club said that much-vaunted green initiatives ‘border on the hypocritical’. They added: ‘They say that they are doing this and that but some training grounds are absolute carnage, with players regularly taking a sip from a bottle, chucking it on the grass and then picking up another fresh one when they need another drink.’
Of the top flight’s 20 sides, just five told this newspaper that they no longer use the ocean-clogging products at their training pitches
Leeds, Leicester, Everton, Brentford and Newcastle United say single-use bottles do not feature on their training pitches.
Instead, players are given personalised bottles which are refilled. At some clubs, such as Leeds, players have two bottles — one for water and one for supplements.
Nina Schrank, senior plastics campaigner at Greenpeace UK, called for more action. ‘While football slowly seems to be waking up to the environmental crisis, clubs must do so much more to limit their plastic waste,’ she said. ‘It’s shocking. These single-use plastic bottles are harming nature and people, so it’s vital that this practice is phased out.
‘Moving away from our throwaway culture is the only way to solve the plastic crisis,’ she added. ‘Clubs should be leading the charge on this and inspiring all their supporters to do the same rather than lagging behind.’
In September, Tottenham took on Chelsea in what was billed as ‘the world’s first net zero carbon football game at an elite level’ – yet both sides are still using plastic bottles
Work to reduce usage does appear to be widespread and many sides, including Chelsea and Liverpool, have recycling plants at their training grounds.
Arsenal say that pre-Covid their Colney training centre was ‘almost entirely free of plastic bottles’ and add that while they have to re-introduced them to mitigate risk, they are 100 per cent recyclable. Liverpool’s players each have their own refillable water bottles and individual bottles are collected and recycled wherever possible.
Manchester United players have their own bottles but the club does use ‘a small supply’ of single-use bottles, while others including City have a ‘zero landfill policy’.
Chelsea are close to completing a move to canned water, given it is easier to recycle, while Villa say they will soon be switching to individual allocated bottles for players and football staff. Spurs say that on home matchdays their players drink water from cartons, while Wolves say 85 per cent of their waste is recycled.
The other 11 are Crystal Palace, both Manchester clubs, Liverpool, Norwich City, Brighton, West Ham, Aston Villa, Arsenal, Burnley and Wolves
Norwich’s players have their own reusable plastic bottles but on occasion use single-use alternatives for supplements.
Brighton use a specialist supplier whose bottles are made from recycled plastics, while Palace say they have installed hydro-chill taps at training ground. West Ham say all bottles at their training ground are recycled, while Burnley say they have a number of initiatives planned. Southampton and Watford did not respond.
A Premier League spokesperson said: ‘Lots of progress has already been made but there is more to be done. We are committed to raising awareness of sustainability.’