America's Cup Zero Waste Plan

(April 1, 2011)

Mayor Lee Commits to Hosting Greenest Major International Sporting Event in History with 34th America's Cup.

Waste Management Plan Sets Framework for Zero Waste Event

Mayor Edwin M. Lee and San Francisco Department of Environment today released the Waste Management Plan for the 34th America's Cup, a plan designed to make the event zero waste going beyond the City's nation-leading environmental laws. The plan offers green alternatives and calls for no use of plastic products to draw attention to the problem of plastics in the ocean. The detailed plan also describes the infrastructure necessary for comprehensive recycling and composting at the event's numerous venues, and stresses the need for significant onsite education. A key component of this effort will be the designation of a Zero Waste Coordinator on the Event management team.

"The America's Cup will help San Francisco demonstrate to the world that it is possible to host civic events on a grand scale while respecting our environment," said Mayor Lee. "The America's Cup plan provides a zero waste template that can be used at events around the world, and will help San Francisco meet our goal of zero waste by 2020."

"San Francisco is again demonstrating its leadership on environmental sustainability," said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. "The America's Cup will be the greenest sporting event the world has ever seen."

"San Francisco has led the nation in recycling, composting and reducing the use of plastic bags, among other environmental initiatives," said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi. "America's Cup provides the city with an unparalleled opportunity to showcase for the world the best practices in sustainability and waste reduction."

The plan recommends eliminating plastic bags, food service ware, and drink bottles, as well as providing durable reusable water bottles and refilling stations, requiring compostable food service ware by all food vendors, and emphasizing waste prevention for food and merchandise vendors. Additionally, the plan has a strong construction and demolition component that recommends deconstruction rather than demolition when existing structures are torn down. Deconstruction allows for the materials such as wood and fixtures to be reused in new building projects.

"The America's Cup provides an excellent venue to call attention to the problem of plastics pollution in the world's oceans," said San Francisco Department of the Environment Director Melanie Nutter. "By eliminating the use of plastic products, the America's Cup sends a clear and timely message that there are easily available alternatives to plastic that will not harm the marine environment."

When plastic debris enters the water, it breaks down into ever smaller units. What results is a floating mass of plastic particles, currently found in the northern Pacific which is twice the size of the state of Texas. Similar masses of plastic have been identified in San Francisco Bay. Plastic also poses a serious threat to wildlife who can mistake the particles for food.

"San Francisco continues to raise the bar when it comes to staging world class events," said San Francisco America's Cup Organizing Committee (ACOC) Chairman Mark Buell. "This plan serves as a model for how a great city puts on an international event. The city, its partners and stakeholders deserve our gratitude for their work."

The Waste Management Plan along with the draft People Plan, the Advertising Plan, and the Ambush Marketing Plan was submitted to the America's Cup Event Authority yesterday. These plans and other documents can be viewed at Members of the public and stakeholders are invited to review the Waste Management Plan and provide feedback and comments on the website of the City's Office of Economic and Workforce Development ( or via email at These comments will be used to further refine the Waste Management Plan as well as to inform further Event plans and EIR impact and possible mitigation measure analyses. The City currently anticipates that the Planning Department will issue the Draft EIR for the Event for public review and comment in July 2011.

About the America's Cup

Nearly 160 years old, the America's Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport. Initially a one-on-one competition between teams representing foreign yacht clubs, the America's Cup has evolved into one of the world's leading sporting competitions-- featuring the best sailors on the world's fastest boats--the wing-sailed AC45 and AC72 catamarans. The 34th America's Cup Finals will be held in late 2013 in San Francisco, with the new America's Cup World Series beginning in 2011. For more information, go to