"Scoring green goals" - How a South Australian company is helping at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
With millions in attendance between stadiums and fan zones, the FIFA World Cup is a juggernaut event that occurs every four years. As fans, we marvel at the action on the pitch; little thought goes into the after-effects of an event of that magnitude. A South Australian company has entered into a partnership to change that. Daniel Mitroussidis, Peats Group Manager of International Development, spoke to Front Page Football about how a group of companies have come together to make Qatar 2022 the most environmentally sustainable World Cup in history.
The BiobiN outside one of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 stadiums. (Daniel Mitroussidis)
Have you ever wondered what happens to the waste in the green bin in your house, along with waste and recycling bins? Peats Soil and Garden Supplies are the experts if you ever want answers.
Using a technology called BiobiN, the company turns organic waste into compost, eliminating the need for landfills while also giving back to the Earth.
Mitroussidis was keen to stress how the company’s work comes full circle. It’s all about the circular economy.
“When you go to garden centres like Bunnings or Mitre 10, and you get potting mixes, compost and mulches, that’s what we do from that green waste. In many cases taken from the green curb side bins. We then supply agriculture, farms, and vineyards with those soil enhancements from what we do. Our motto is, ‘What we take from the Earth, we put back into the Earth’,” he said recently.
When presenting to the World Cup organising committee, Mitroussidis and his team challenged the organisers on their environmental conscience. After introducing the concept of the BiobiN to them, they struck a deal.
“When I first did the presentation about five to six years ago, I said, ‘You need to have the BiobiN there!’ Mitroussidis added.
“The local organising committee was asking what this was. I asked them, ‘How can you say you are the most clean, green, and sustainable tournament unless you are dealing with organic waste?’ They asked us what our proposal was, and we showed them how the BiobiN could be rolled out in Qatar with our trading partners.”
Mitroussidis (left), Peats Managing Director Peter Wadewitz (middle), and Leon Bignell MP (right) displaying the compost that is manufactured through organic waste. (Leon Bignell MP)
A deal of this magnitude is incredibly complex. A group of companies with similar goals and values must come together and pool their resources to win the contract. Mitroussidis does not doubt that there have been good intentions about waste management in the past. But the execution has often lagged behind great ideas.
“Over time, you will find everyone has had the best intentions, but implementation has been the core problem and infrastructure. What’s the point of having something compostable if you don’t have anyone to receive it and deal with it?” Mitroussidis said.
Peats Soil and Garden Supplies has partnered with Qatar-based Agricompost and Agrico Agricultural Development, along with Apex Waste Management. They will ensure the BiobiN is rolled out effectively at the World Cup.
These companies are all linked in partnership with the common goal of sustainability in mind. They will be undertaking different tasks in turning waste into compost.
“Our Qatari partners provide the support and infrastructure to do what we want to do,” Mitroussidis explained.
“This also allows for bilateral trade and export development between Australia and Qatar.
“You need to set up a business like Agricompost that has the methodology and technology, like the BiobiN, to take the organic waste, make it into compost and supply it back to farmers, agriculture, municipalities, greening projects, and also back to FIFA.”
Mitroussidis was an important part of the negotiations that won the waste management contract for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. (BiobiN Technologies Australia)
Along with winning the contract, the representatives of these companies have assisted the local organising committee with catering expectations at the World Cup. Their goal is to move away from “biodegradable” products that may still exist in the environment for weeks, months, or years after being discarded. Instead, they want to move towards “compostable” products, which are turned to soil enhancement in the BiobiN within weeks.
“We were very instrumental in assisting the local organising committee in developing policies and strategies for the catering and vendors in terms of their packaging and utensils; they will all be certified compostable. Not biodegradable, that is a dirty word for us, but certified compostable,” Mitroussidis said.
“When you put certified compostable products in the BiobiN, they disintegrate within a few weeks, and they’re made from organic matter and corn starch.”
Looking to the future, Mitroussidis hopes this deal legitimises the BiobiN as the norm for events of international magnitude like the World Cup. But also for local events that occur throughout Australia and the world.
Australia is less than a year from co-hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the Olympic and Commonwealth Games are approaching in the coming years after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cleanliness and waste control remain of paramount importance.
The BiobiN neutralises waste odour and ensures that plates, cups, and utensils are made from compostable material. Crucially, they do not end up in landfills, eventually breaching our food system.
“We are talking about a lasting legacy. When the circus comes to town, you can’t just leave a hole with dirt when it leaves. The legacy is that green waste becomes soil enhancement and compost, which goes back into the ground,” Mitroussidis explained.
“When FIFA finishes the tournament, the community, environment, and social impact is going to be evident because all the waste is going back into the ground. It can go onto your lawn, into your plants, and it helps them grow.”
Global tournaments like the FIFA World Cup captivate billions of people around the planet. But it is important to remember that the effects of the event do not disappear after the referee’s final whistle.
Technology like the BiobiN is crucial to the long-term prosperity of humanity, and football is an integral vessel in the delivery and normalisation of that and many other noble causes.
You can also check out this video where sustainability expert Orjan Lundberg and Agricompost CEO Nasser Ahmad Al Khalaf discuss the sustainability initiatives being used at the World Cup, featuring the BiobiN:
Video supplied by Daniel Mitroussidis.
Click here to read more about Australia's influence on the global game.