Recycling and Composting Drive Success of Diversion and Recovery Goals at 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open

Tournament Zero Waste Challenge exceeds ambitious goals by diverting more than 97 percent of waste and recovering 82 percent of materials

TEMPE, Ariz. May 18, 2012 —Waste Management officially announced today the final diversion and recovery percentages as part of the Zero Waste Challenge from this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open (WMPO) PGA TOUR tournament. More than 97 percent of waste generated by the tournament was diverted from landfills, exceeding the 90 percent tournament goal.  Eighty-two percent of tournament materials were recovered from the waste stream through recycling, composting, material reuse and charitable donations - far exceeding the goal of 70 percent. 

While the tournament ran from January 30 to February 5, months of set-up took place prior to the event, followed by weeks of post-event material removal. All materials diverted were carefully handled and tracked to ensure nearly nothing went to waste. 

The Zero Waste Challenge initiative mandated that all vendors utilize compostable or recyclable serving materials or containers, and educated patrons about the proper disposal of materials in either recycling or compost bins for all waste produced at the event. For the first time in PGA TOUR history, no trashcans were present on course. Volunteer recycling ambassadors were stationed throughout the course to ensure materials went in the appropriate bins, and a dedicated operations team behind the scenes sorted materials. 

Waste Management’s Sustainability Services team, which has expertise in sustainable event management, led the greening of the WMPO. The team of experienced sustainability professionals worked closely with tournament organizers to develop creative solutions to the unique waste management challenges presented by the event, which attracted 518,262 people. The program’s success reinforces that the Waste Management Phoenix Open is the “greatest and greenest” show on grass. 

The recycling efforts at the 2012 WMPO tournament conserved the following resources:

  • 1,149 mature trees
  • 394,310 gallons of water
  • 574,856 kilowatt-hours of electricity
  • 843 cubic yards of landfill airspace 

Recycling, composting and alternative fuel efforts avoided 582 metric tons (MTCO2E) of greenhouse gas emissions. 

“The tremendous success of the Zero Waste Challenge would not have been possible without the teamwork of a dedicated group of our employees, WMPO vendors, the Thunderbirds, and TPC Scottsdale,” said David Aardsma, Waste Management chief sales and marketing officer. “Waste Management is an environmental solutions leader, and the Waste Management Phoenix Open is our platform to show communities and businesses across North America what’s possible when you think green.” 

“Waste Management has certainly taken the greenest show on grass to the next level with the successful diversion and recovery results at this year’s tournament,” said Alex Clark, 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open tournament chairman. “The Thunderbirds were thrilled to collaborate with Waste Management on the innovative Zero Waste Challenge and we are proud to have such a supportive and involved title sponsor.” 

Materials were recovered at the 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open in many ways, but the highlights include: 

  • Recycling

Plastics, including LDPE, HDPE, PET, aluminum, paper, cardboard, glass, and metal were sent to WM’s Arizona Community Ecocenter Material Recovery Facility (MRF) for processing. 

  • Composting

Food, napkins, plates and paper cups used during the tournament were processed in a digester to produce high-quality compost for surrounding communities. 

  • Charitable Donation

WM donated carpet to a local Habitat for Humanity ReStore to sell the carpet to the public. Proceeds of carpet sales help Habitat achieve its mission of building homes, communities and hope.    

  • Transforming event materials into new innovative materials

All of the scrap wood was processed by a local organic lawn and garden company, GRO-WELL, who ground the wood into mulch. 

Turf and green mesh were sent to a company that recovers the energy and mineral components from waste for use as fuel and product additives used in manufacturing processes. This conserves fossil fuels and natural mineral resources and diverts the materials from landfills.   

While not included in the tournament recovery goals, the approximately 140,000 used golf balls filling the WM water feature on the lake at hole 18 were donated to The First Tee, a youth charity teaching life skills through the game of golf. Many tournament materials are also stored each year for use in future years, including the WM water feature structure, leaderboard, sheets of wood and event décor. 

Waste Management uses its title sponsorship of this premier golf tournament to convey key messages of sustainability, environmental awareness, turning waste into a resource, extracting value from the waste stream, and innovating and optimizing its operations and the customer experience. The tournament’s diversion and recovery success resulted in other major sporting and event organizations across the country contacting the company to help reduce and recover waste at their events.  


Waste Management, Inc., based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. Through its subsidiaries, the company provides collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services. It is one of the largest residential recyclers and also a leading developer, operator and owner of waste-to-energy and landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States. The company’s customers include residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers throughout North America. To learn more information about Waste Management visit or

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