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Qatar 2022 stays true to the zero-waste policy announced before the tournament

When Qatar first bid to organise the FIFA World Cup in 2010, the Middle East state was not only to write history, it was going to host the most exciting edition of the competition in history. That was the objective, that was the promise and this is exactly what Qatar are delivering now, with no punches pulled.

However, the Middle East state also set up the competition to become the most inclusive and the most sustainable ever, with a carbon-neutral footprint and a zero-waste policy as the main objectives set before the start of the competition.

Sure, organising such a grandiose event like the FIFA World Cup is a huge task, with plenty of infrastructure needed to be put in place, as seven stadiums were built from scratch and a new metro line was also inaugurated in 2019, connecting the majority of the venues in the 50-kilometre radius alongside capital Doha.

But the organisers’ main objective was also to make sure that every piece of trash produced at stadiums and fan zones is recycled, composted, or turned into green energy. It all started during the design and construction phases of the stadiums, when authorities put a significant focus on minimising and recycling construction waste for a greener approach.

Then, in preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, successful tests were conducted throughout the main event hosted by Qatar, the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup, as materials that produced waste were avoided and instead replaced with recyclable products. Nine hundred reusable water bottles were distributed to the workforce and volunteers.

The order of this has been multiplied by the hundreds, with over 20.000 volunteers and 17.000 media representatives receiving now recyclable cups and bottles, as nothing has been left to chance.

“With the responsibility of hosting the FIFA World Cup came an even larger responsibility to avoid leaving an impact on Qatar’s environment. We started early in our journey to try to minimise the amount of waste being sent to landfill. During the design and construction of our stadiums, significant focus was placed on minimising and recycling construction waste. During the operations of our stadiums, the focus is now on avoidance, minimisation, segregation, recycling and recovery,” said Eng. Bodour Al Meer, the SC’s Sustainability Executive Director.

Back to the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup, the generated waste from the tournament which spanned to 19 days, nine less than the 2022 FIFA World Cup, was segregated into organic, plastic, metal, electronic, and cardboard. The remaining waste was sent to the Ministry of Municipality’s Domestic Solid Waste Management Centre for further treatment in a waste-to-energy plant.

During the event, each stadium recycled at least 42% of the waste generated, with the remainder converted to green energy. Al Bayt Stadium recycled more than 70% of the waste generated during the tournament.

“Our work in the Arab Cup proved we can deliver a large-scale event without sending waste to landfill. Our goal is to replicate this success during the World Cup and set a new standard in hosting sustainable mega sporting events,” added Al Meer.

In the build up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar’s Ministry of Municipality set a goal to have 60% of all waste created during the World Cup to be separated for recycling, reuse, and other purposes rather than disposed of in a landfill.

The Qatar’s Domestic Solid Waste Management Centre is the first-of-its-kind facility in the region, and one of few in the world, designed to treat an initial capacity of more than 1,550 tonnes of waste a day. It contains waste sorting and recycling facilities, landfill, a composting plant and a 1,000 tonnes per day Waste-to-Energy (WTE) incineration plant.

“Each FIFA tournament provides us an opportunity to improve and to set higher goals. The FIFA World Cup in Qatar is no exception. The FIFA Arab Cup has given us the opportunity to test our operations and ensure all will be in place to achieve the waste management-related goals in the Qatar 2022 Sustainability Strategy,” said Federico Addiechi, FIFA’s Head of Sustainability & Environment.

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