Tennis Australia partners with Samsara to tackle plastic pollution

Tennis Australia partners with a pioneering Australian enviro-tech startup to reduce plastic bottle waste at the Australian Open.

Under the newly formed partnership, Tennis Australia is supporting recycling innovators Samsara in their mission to end the plastic pollution crisis, through their Wildcard Ventures VC fund,

A pioneer in ‘infinite recycling technology’, Samsara uses plastic-eating enzymes to break down plastic waste into its basic components. The resulting material can be used to make new medical and food-safe plastic products that can be recycled repeatedly without degradation.

Samsara will collect approximately 5,000 used plastic water bottles during the 2022 Australian Open, which they will recycle in their Canberra lab.

“Tennis Australia is proud to support Samsara’s groundbreaking technology,” said Tim Jolley, Chief Strategy Officer of Tennis Australia.

“We are committed to minimizing our impact on the environment through a wide range of sustainability programs. As a formal investor in Samsara, we have a genuine interest in their future success.”

Samsara’s process is carbon neutral, environmentally friendly and streamlined, as there is no need to separate clear and colored plastic bottles. During 2022, Samsara will expand their laboratory activities to build the first recycling plant, with a view to full production by 2023.

Other early investors in Samsara include Main Sequence, the venture capital arm founded by CSIRO, Woolworths and the Australian National University.

“We are proud to have Tennis Australia supply materials from Australia’s biggest sporting event, the Australian Open, to Samsara to showcase our pioneering recycling process,” said Paul Riley, founder of Samsara Eco.

Samsara’s investment is one of a number of initiatives Tennis Australia is implementing as part of the Australian Open’s growing focus on sustainability, including:

• Greenhouse gas emissions at the 2022 Australian Open will be monitored as part of Tennis Australia’s commitment to the UN Sport for Climate Action Framework (UNS4CA)

• An emissions reduction plan has been drawn up, targeting eight emission sources, to meet the emission reduction targets set in UNS4CA

• Australian start-up Green My Plate, a local landscaping company, hygienically supplies and washes reusable plates and dishes used at the AO ‘Beach House’, removing thousands of single-use items from the landfill during the tournament

• The challenge of event waste, improving measurements and reducing the total amount of landfill is an important focus.

• A dedicated recycling stream has been created to manage 60,000 AO tennis ball tubes, which were traditionally difficult to recycle

• Removal of plastic lids from AO tennis ball product packaging

• The AO22 fleet includes 10 fully electric Kia EV6s; an important milestone towards the full integration of electric vehicles.

“We are currently in the first phase of our ‘Maximum Play, Minimum Footprint’ sustainability journey, with our focus on developing strategies and capabilities, measuring and basing impacts and testing innovative programs,” said Jolley.

“These building blocks and the development of our emissions reduction trajectory will form the backbone of our future sustainability efforts as we strive to reduce the environmental impact of the AO.”

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