Case Study: Grundon and Forest Green Rovers green partnership delivers the right result

Grundon is working with Forest Green Rovers Football Club to achieve 100% recycling of its waste. The result is a great team effort, on and off the pitch.

Forest Green Rovers Football Club from Nailsworth, near Stroud is on a mission: to become the greenest soccer team in the world. Not surprising when the football club is owned by Dale Vince, energy entrepreneur and head of one of the UK’s fastest growing green energy suppliers, Ecotricity. Over the last five years the club has driven a raft of energy saving systems and procedures, including working with Grundon on an innovative waste management strategy.

Forest Green Rovers New Lawn Stadium is serviced by Grundon Waste Management
Forest Green Rovers New Lawn Stadium is serviced by Grundon Waste Management

Nailsworth-based Forest Green Rovers are on a mission to become the world’s greenest football club and their New Lawn stadium features a number of green innovations, including solar panels and an organic pitch.

The club installed solar energy to power its facilities, laid down an organic grass pitch which is mown by a solar powered robot (or ‘mowbot’) and made international headlines when it began offering football fans vegetarian-only food and drink at its on-site restaurant, food concessions and bars. It has now gone completely vegan. However, swapping red meat for Quorn in a burger bap doesn’t seem to have put anyone off, gate numbers are rising and chips are still available on match days, gluten free but no less tasty on the touchline.

Forest Green Rovers, which began working with Grundon more than two years ago, is over 120 years old and the longest serving member of the National League, formerly known as the Football Conference. It’s currently making strides to break into the Football League for the first time in its history.

Along with its ambition for football greatness, Forest Green Rovers is working just as hard to achieve its sustainable commitment to recycle 100% of its waste, thanks to support and advice from Grundon.

The New Lawn, home to Forest Green Rovers
The New Lawn, home to Forest Green Rovers

Grundon Waste Management are helping Forest Green Rovers to achieve their ambition of diverting 100% of their waste from landfill.

With Grundon’s help, the club is diverting 95% of its waste from landfill so it can be recycled or recovered. After extracting any obvious metals and compostables, general waste in the compactor goes for energy recovery. Mixed recyclables are taken to Grundon’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) at Bishops’s Cleeve, near Cheltenham and fully recycled. Grass cuttings are taken for composting, and in 2016 Grundon will be supporting Forest Green Rovers through the introduction of food waste recycling, diverting it to an anaerobic digestion facility.

Under previous ownership, Forest Green Rovers’ waste management was basic. That’s all changed since the partnership with Grundon. Recycling points have been installed around the football ground, along with a special skip where all the grass cuttings are disposed. Grundon has also provided the club with a mobile compactor so that more waste can be collected on site before collection, reducing the number of vehicle collections required at the clubs’ New Lawn stadium. Another benefit is the fact that all collections do not add to the club’s carbon footprint, thanks to Grundon’s certified CarbonNeutral® vehicle fleet.

John Parkin of Forest Green Rovers in action
John Parkin of Forest Green Rovers in action

Forest Green Rovers aren’t just flying high in the National League, they are also flying the flag for sustainable practices on and off the pitch.

The club also appreciates Grundon’s active support of local environmental and community causes, such as the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and that they are a family business with a strong local presence.

Sustainability doesn’t just mean focusing on energy reduction. Forest Green Rovers has a thriving youth football academy; with over 150 young players turning out weekly to train and play in competitive matches. Grundon is helping here too, supporting the next generation by sponsoring the club’s Under 15 academy squad. Grundon want to help the club develop a sustainable pool of talented players, some of which could one day go on to pull on a first team shirt for Forest Green Rovers.

Scott Bartlett is Head Coach at Forest Green Rovers Youth Academy. He was appointed to lead the Academy in 2011 and has revolutionised the youth system at the club by making it one of the strongest outside the football league circuit. Scott said: “We have some really good young players of all ages but our U15 squad have been together the longest and benefitted the most from our current youth academy so it’s really good to see them supported by Grundon.”

Grundon are proud to sponsor Forest Green Rovers' Under 15 Academy team
Grundon are proud to sponsor Forest Green Rovers’ Under 15 Academy team

Grundon Waste Management are proud to sponsor Forest Green Rovers’ Under 15 Academy team, which aims to develop talented young players and find future first team starlets.

Anthony Foxlee-Brown, Marketing Communications Manager at Grundon said: “We are helping Forest Green Rovers achieve its sustainability goals through the waste management service we provide, so it’s fantastic to reciprocate in helping them become more sustainable on the pitch through developing and nurturing talented players of the future.

“It’s win/win all around, and there’s nothing better than winning for an ambitious football club such as Forest Green Rovers. And for Grundon too.”

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