Single-use plastics are getting the black flag in Formula 1®, and race fans around the globe can now join that effort along with Global Citizen to help make a difference for a healthier, more sustainable future.
The initiative to reduce single-use plastics will be on full display when Formula 1 returns to the historic and iconic Monaco Grand Prix. The entire F1 community — from teams and officials to commercial partners and the Automobile Club de Monaco — will pledge to eliminate or significantly reduce their use of single-use plastics like water bottles and shopping bags in trackside operations.
Together, the F1 community hopes to reduce its usage of single-use plastic bottles by 1 million in 2021 and to eradicate the presence of single-use plastics at Grand Prixs by 2025 (which represents more than a 100% reduction in the operation and hospitality areas).
This push is part of Formula 1's drive to become a net-zero carbon entity by 2030. Key to that goal is ensuring 100% of the waste generated in the sport is reused, recycled, or composted.
While plastic has become an essential material globally, single-use plastics are one of our environment's greatest threats. The world produces more than 300 million tons of plastic annually, while roughly half is used just once. Even worse, up to one-third of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging made annually ends up in our oceans.
The effects of this unsustainable practice show up virtually everywhere — as litter along our roads, dumped inside ever-growing landfills, and or washed into our oceans. Plastic pollution threatens wildlife and even human health by clogging sewers and contaminating water supplies. A study of water samples in 2017 showed that a high proportion of tap water contains microscopic plastic fragments — including 94% of all samples taken in the United States.
Race fans everywhere can join the effort and commit to reducing the reliance on single-use plastics. Fans should consider using refillable bottles, shopping with reusable bags, and urging political leaders to strengthen environmental regulations that reduce single-use plastic usage and pollution.
Formula 1 began implementing sustainable practices with single-use plastic at the Bahrain pre-season test in March. That’s when Formula 1 staff shifted from single-serve plastic water bottles to reusable containers with refill stations located around each circuit. The strategy even extended to the many remote camera operators and other trackside staff, who were provided with pouches that contained enough water for a full day. F1 has also switched its paddock passes for staff, media guests, and fans at 2021 race events to a recycled plastic material that Formula 1 says will repurpose 143,275 plastic bottles during the 2021 campaign.
It's critical work considering the amount of plastic material that ends up in our environment annually. Unlike other materials, plastics never biodegrade. It simply just breaks down to small micro-fragments that pollute our soil and water.
Formula 1's efforts to inspire change and reduce single-use plastics are part of its larger partnership with Global Citizen. Together, Formula 1 and Global Citizen are taking action around a three-pillar approach to protect the planet, deliver equity for all through systemic change, and ensure all children get access to education after the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.