This year, the Hall of Fame Open is proud to partner with official Sustainability Sponsor, 11th Hour Racing. The Newport-based organization is best known for its work with the sailing community and maritime industries to promote practices that protect and restore the health of our oceans. But their environmental stewardship extends far beyond the coastline.
This past Saturday, South African professional tennis player Kevin Anderson, an advocate for environmental stewardship and reducing plastic ocean waste who is competing in the Hall of Fame Open, headed to Newport’s Perrotti Park. On the docks located less than a mile from the historic grass courts of the Tennis Hall of Fame, Anderson learned more about the Newport Harbor Marina Trash Skimmer Project.
In addition to capturing floating debris, including a good amount of microplastics and single-use plastics, the skimmers located off Aquidneck Island’s shoreline absorb surface oil and other contaminants. The impressive piece of marine equipment is capable of collecting around 250 pounds of debris daily.
As Anderson took a closer look at how local environmental groups 11th Hour Racing and Clean Ocean Access are combating marine debris with Blue Technology, Lorraine McKenna, sponsorship manager at 11th Hour Racing, explained the direct correlation between the Hall of Fame Open and ocean health. “We're so excited to partner with the Hall of Fame Open as we see it vital to communicate the connectivity between sustainable practices on land and how that affects the stability of our oceans,” noted McKenna. “The oceans are our lifeline and the clock is ticking.”
Action steps to reduce waste at the Hall of Fame Open include removing single-use plastics (bottles, straws and plastic bags), a compost program for food scraps and landscape waste, using recycled paper in printed materials, and using custodial paper products made from recycled materials. Fans, players, volunteers and staff are encouraged to bring their own refillable water bottles and to recycle cans and glass bottles. Unique to the event, water that is provided on site is in recycled aluminum cans. Volunteer members of the “Green Team” are onsite to help ensure recyclables make their way to the proper receptacles. The organization is also tracking key indicators for future sustainability initiatives such as water, electricity, and fuel usage.
One of the many objectives of this partnership is to educate tournament fans, players and volunteers about personal behaviors they can perform at home to make a long-term positive impact on ocean health so that they not only leave the Hall of Fame Open with great memories, but with a passion for sustainable living.