Volvo Ocean Race
Sustainable Products / RPC bpi group

Volvo Ocean Race

The Background

The round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) is the ultimate test of teamwork and human endeavour. For four decades it has been a proving ground for the world’s greatest sailors.

But more than that, the elite sailing event has worked hard to build awareness of, and create positive action on, ocean plastic waste.

It uses the numerous stopovers at cities throughout the world to raise awareness of plastic pollution, working with recycling partners to make sure it stages responsible events that manage their plastic footprint.

The Objectives

For the first time in the event’s history, VOR came to Cardiff for a two-week stopover. And it was down to Cardiff Harbour Authority (CHA) to stage an event it could be proud of.

As part of this, it needed to source a reputable and local recycling partner to take care of any plastic film waste created by the event – a material commonly rejected by standard municipal waste-sorting facilities.

The Strategy

Step forward RPC bpi recycled products, the largest polythene film recycler in Europe, which has a factory close to Cardiff in Rhymney, South Wales..

We helped to create a sponsorship partnership which saw the business work with CHA, but also with ESE, who provided the collection bins; Veolia, responsible for transporting the plastic film to the Rhymney factory; and Event Clean, the onsite cleaning company.

Specifically, the sponsorship package included:
– local sponsorship branding on banner flags and around the Race Village;
– a promotional video screened throughout the event;
– two tickets to the Ocean Health Summit;
– two tickets to the ‘Life at the Extreme’ awards dinner; and
– ten tickets to the Wales Pavilion VIP area

RPC bpi recycled products went further to create more value for the partnership. The company organised the logistics of the plastics collection, donating more than 2,000 recycled refuse sacks. Once at the recycling factory, the plastic film was sorted, washed, and made into plastic pellets. These are then used for re-manufacturing purposes, taking used plastic to create second-life products, such as refuse sacks and plastic furniture, as part of RPC’s Plaswood product range.

The sponsorship also included providing:
– a one-minute video explaining the RPC bpi recycled plastics’ role in the Cardiff stopover;
– educational packs given out to school children attending the event;
– a poster in English and Welsh, explaining the importance of recycling and how plastics can be used to make other things;
– two Plaswood benches, to be located around the Race Village; and
– logos for banner flags and signage around the event.

The Results

The VOR elite racing event was an ideal sponsorship partnership which highlighted RPC bpi recycled products’ environmental stewardship and its commitment to the circular economy. It also presented a perfect opportunity to showcase the creative and business potential of recycling plastic and remanufacturing plastic into second-life products.

In total, 280 kilograms of plastic film was collected from the Cardiff stopover, enough to make around 10,000 refuse sacks or four Plaswood benches.

The two-week event was also a huge success in terms of visitors, with 180,000 people attending the event during the period. The one-minute promotional video was shown on large screens at the entrance to the Race Village and by the main stage. And the Welsh Environment Minister used his slot on stage at the Ocean Health Summit to explain the importance of plastic film recycling.

The partnership even resulted in direct sales, with CHA buying four further Plaswood benches for the city, all with the inscription ‘Made from plastic film collected at the Volvo Ocean Race Cardiff Stopover’.

The Authority has since requested RPC bpi recycled products to be the plastics recyclers at a number of events in Cardiff Bay.

Following a visit to the RPC bpi recycled products site in Rhymney by the Volvo sustainability team, the following video was produced for the VOR website.