How the Giro d’Italia is riding the sustainability wave

Cycling is generally recognised as a greener way of getting around. Many eco-conscious folk proudly wear their helmets and reflective gear as a badge of honour, a visual representation of their commitment to sustainability.

How the Giro d’Italia is riding the sustainability wave Officials of the annual Giro d’Italia, Italy’s Grand Tour, are embracing this spirit of sustainability, through their Ride Green project, dedicated to environmental protection and responsibility.

This year marks the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia road race, which sees riders face 21 stages of intimidating mountain passes and gruelling time trials crammed into a three-week period. The event will begin in Sardinia on Friday 5 May, ending in Milan on Sunday 28 May.

The Ride Green project, a five-year programme aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the event and promoting environmental issues, was launched at the 2016 Giro d’Italia. The result of a collaboration between event organisers RCS Sport and cooperative E.R.I.C.A (Education, Research, Information and Environmental Communication), the project achieved an 84 per cent recycling rate for waste created across the whole event in its first year.

This year, bioplastics manufacturer Novamont is involved in helping the event go greener still, providing resources and information aimed at increasing environmental sustainability.

Each year, tens of thousands of people flock to watch or take part in the race and the environmental impact of this is huge. In particular, the waste generated by meals, including disposable plates and cutlery, accounts for a large portion of the event’s total waste. Novamont will be providing disposable cups, plates, containers and cutlery made from its compostable MATER-BI bioplastic, enabling them to be disposed of alongside food waste from the event.

How the Giro d’Italia is riding the sustainability wave MATER-BI is made from starches, cellulose, vegetable oils and their combinations using pioneering technologies, which allow it to biodegrade and compost, reducing environmental impact and avoiding some of the carbon emissions generated by other plastics.  

Awareness raising initiatives will take place around the 21 stages of the event, informing the public of the importance of correct separate waste collection, particularly organic waste. Other actions include: separate collection of waste, recycling of collected materials, upcycling materials otherwise destined to landfill through social projects and measuring results.

Over 1,200 recycling bins will be sent out to the councils hosting stages of the race, and will be gifted to the councils following the event for their permanent use.

Andrea Di Stefano, Director of Special Projects and Business Communications at Novamont, said: "We have decided to support the Ride Green project again this year because a competition as important as the Giro deserves to become a benchmark in terms of environmental sustainability.

“The Giro unites our country from north to south, east to west, and constitutes a unique celebration of its extraordinary beauty. Holding the competition while respecting natural ecosystems means we can hugely increase its scope and value.”

More information about the Ride Green project can be found on the Giro d’Italia’s website.

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