Making positive lifestyle changes is the simplest and best way to contribute to reducing the impact football has on the environment.
Below you will see a collection of partners that all offer practical, engaging and fun ways to introduce sustainable choices
For many, trying to understand climate change and how football is both a contributor and an unfortunate victim is a complex issue. This section is designed to help those involved in football understand the impacts of the game but also how, by adapting new ways of working, we can achieve a lower carbon game.
To help understand the issue here is a Club Carbon Calculator where you can begin to understand how travel to and from football has a significant impact on your footprint.
We are kicking off 2022 by partnering with Football Rebooted to help them achieve their ambitious target of saving one million pairs of football boots from landfill, and redistributing them across the West Midlands region through a network of boot collection points located at grassroots football clubs. The collection points are located at the following Clubs and you can view their map location using the below interactive tool:
AFC Chelmsley, Alcester Town FC, Aston Villa FC, Bedworth Eagles JFC, Birmingham City FC, Birmingham County FA, Callowbrook Swift JFC, Coventrians FC, Cradley Town DC, Gornal Athletic FC, Kenilworth Sporting FC, Kewford Eagles FC, Meriden Lions FC, Southam United Minor, Stourbridge FC, Tudor Grange Academy, Tudor Grange Academy Kingshurst, Upper Lighthorne FC, Walsall FC, Wellesbourne Wanderers.
For many clubs, in particular those in junior and youth football, the largest and most frequent outlay of funds is on purchasing new kit. The problem with regularly purchasing new is that this is adding to the problem of climate change through the manufacturing process. The raw material for shirts is polyester which is a plastic created from extracting oil, further depleting natural resources before it is refined into the polyester required for the garment. This process requires massive amounts of energy and water which in turn releases damaging amounts of CO2 in to our atmosphere.
Football is not in isolation here; the fashion/textile industry as a whole is responsible for 10% of all global CO2 emissions.
What can our club do?
Keeping kit in circulation for longer is key. The durability of football kit has vastly improved over the last few years which means that items now have a shelf life of 5+ years, not 2 or 3 which is the case for some. Alternatively, you could try one or all of the following;
• Run a rental, returns or hand-back scheme, passing older kit through the age groups where possible (many inner-city schools are using this system to reduce the financial burden on families from more economically deprived areas). Read more HERE
• Donate unwanted kit to local schools for their teams
• Donate or sell kit using online platforms like eBay and Facebook to generate club funds
• Where possible avoid sending unwanted kit to Africa or other developing countries because as yet the infrastructure is not in place to responsibly dispose of items once they have reached their end of life, meaning a large percentage are dumped in landfill or illegally burnt. Watch this this short film to see the shocking effects.
Birmingham County FA are keen to work with clubs who want to try and establish the first-ever circular economy for kit. Email savetodayplaytomorrow@BirminghamFA.com using the subject title “Circular Economy”
Responsible end-of-life disposal - Why recycle?
An estimated £140 million worth (350,000 tonnes) of used clothing goes to waste in landfill every year.
The average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes, but around 30% hasn’t been worn for at least a year.
Clothing made from natural materials like cotton, wool and leather will produce a range of greenhouse gases while biodegrading in landfill sites.
For every tonne of textiles reused rather than sent into landfill, CO2eq (harmful greenhouse gases) are reduced by 7 tonnes.
Extending the average life of clothes by nine months (the length of a football season) would save £5 billion in resources used to supply, launder and dispose of clothing.
Donating your unwanted clothing and household items to The Salvation Army helps raise millions for good causes.
*Source of statistics: WRAP
Find your nearest Salvation Army clothing bank here:
Pledge of Sustainability
We have partnered with the charity Pledgeball for the 21/22 season, to encourage all clubs to sign up for the first-of-its-kind Sustainability Pledge in football. Using Pledgeball’s unique digital platform, all clubs are eligible to join along with their members, supporters and family and make simple lifestyle choices that help improve the planet and move your club up the Sustainability League Table.
Making pledges reaffirms your commitment to smarter choices about how you travel to football, reducing the amount of plastic, disposing of litter responsibly and promoting recycling
Clubs who sign up to the pledge will be challenged to share their stories and success over our new social platforms.
GREEN INNOVATION FUND
As part of Birmingham County FA's commitment to creating a low carbon, greener game, we are giving clubs the opportunity to apply for grant funding up to the value of £750 to help support innovative, environmentally positive sustainability projects at a grassroots level.
The portal is currently closed and will reopen in Spring 2023.
Planet League is an agile start-up that harnesses the power of the beautiful game to motivate people to make positive environmental behaviour changes.
Go green for your team with the Planet League. For every action you take, you score goals for your favourite football club. This is the place where top Premier League sides can be humbled by National League teams. Where scores can reach their hundreds in the fight for football and climate glory. It's down to the fans, the more you do, the more you help your club.
BIRMINGHAM ENERGY INITIATIVE
Birmingham Energy Initiative are an energy company with a bold vision – empowering change in Birmingham where energy is consumed sustainably, generated renewably, and shared fairly, focused on empowering individuals to change through their innovative Educating Energy platform.
The energy company’s partnership with Birmingham County FA signals their commitment to helping football clubs of all shapes and sizes at the heart of their local communities in their plans to become better educated about energy - and aim for net zero emissions through a range of solutions like solar panels, LED lighting and electric vehicle charging points.
In addition to their club support, Birmingham Energy Initiative want to use the power of football to highlight and tackle the ever-increasing problem of fuel poverty across the region. It is estimated that currently there are 304,000 households in the West Midlands in fuel poverty, exacerbating wider poverty and inequality issues.
Through the partnership the aim is to raise the profile of the growing problem of fuel poverty and offer support through education, resources and signposting to organisations that can help.
To find out more about Birmingham Energy Initiative, please visit https://www.birminghamenergyinitiative.co.uk/
Refill is an award-winning, consumer and corporate behaviour-change campaign to help people live with less plastic.
The campaign is designed to normalise refill and reuse behaviour and support the infrastructure needed to enable people to access reuse options.
Refill connect people to places they can eat, drink and shop without the pointless packaging. Anyone can download the free Refill app to tap into a global network of places to reduce, reuse and refill. From a coffee on your commute, to drinking water on the go, or even shopping with less plastic, Refill puts the power to go packaging free at your fingertips.
With more than 30,000 Refill Stations accepting reusables globally, over 300,000 app downloads and 100 million pieces of plastic avoided to date, we’ve proven that Refill has the power to create a wave of change and stop plastic pollution at source.
On average 48,000 matches take place in the region each season, so it is easy to see what the scale of the problem is, but by partnering with Refill and offering this simple solution, it is hoped this is the first step for grassroots football to remove plastic waste from the game.
To find out more about Refill and World Refill Day, please visit https://www.refill.org.uk/world-refill-day
Please download the practical guidance to help you on your journey to become more sustainable.
Birmingham University Clean Air Study & Football
CLICK HERE FOR MORE
Air Quality Data
Birmingham County FA recently partnered with WM-Air to analyse across the region where poor air quality could impact on football venues
The findings concluded that;
Approximately 50% of all registered Home Grounds and 55% of Training Grounds in the County are in locations which exceed WHO health-based air quality guidelines for annual PM2.5 concentrations.
Using WM-Air modelled air quality data we estimate that approximately half of the Weds Midlands population live in locations which exceed WHO health-based air quality guidelines for annual PM2.5 concentrations.
Exposure to high concentrations of PM (e.g. during short-term pollution episodes) can also exacerbate lung and heart conditions, significantly affecting quality of life, and increase deaths and hospital admissions. Children, the elderly and those with predisposed respiratory and cardiovascular disease, are known to be more susceptible to the health impacts from air pollution (source: https://laqm.defra.gov.uk/public-health/pm25.html)
To read the full report, please click here
The data from the report has also been plotted as a kml file onto a Google map, along with air quality information for all football locations for you to view.
The locations have been ranked in terms of the air quality in the corresponding 1 km2 DEFRA dataset, and the estimated NO2 and PM2.5 annual mean concentrations can be viewed by clicking on each location
Birmingham County FA plan to work closely with WM-Air on more in depth research over the coming months to help better understand the health impacts poor air quality have on football participants and also provide tangible solutions that football can adopt to help reduce harmful emissions.
YORKSHIRE SPORT FOUNDATION
In November 2021, our Save Today, Play Tomorrow programme lead, Richard Lindsay spoke to The YSF Podcast team about the Climate Emergency. You can listen below, or alternatively search for The YSF Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Amazon Music.
BIRMINGHAM COUNTY FA: SAVE TODAY, PLAY TOMORROW E-NEWSLETTER
Whether you are involved in football or not here is a great way to keep up to date with all the relevant information on how we can create a greener and more sustainable game.
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