18 Sep 21

World Cleanup Day: Teaming up to tackle the global waste crisis 

World Cleanup Day is the world’s largest one-day civic action to engage more than 180 countries to tackle global waste crisis. It's not just about cleanups, it's a strong and unique network of doers who share the vision of the waste-free world and believe that together we can clean up the world from waste. Formula E headed out to one of its race locations to get stuck in.

To mark World Cleanup Day, Formula E staff headed to Canary Wharf, and the River Thames, just a stone's throw from the site of the London E-Prix, to do their bit on the day that sees groups from more than 180 countries team up to raise awareness of and tackle the global waste crisis, with more than 50 million people volunteering since World Cleanup Day was first marked back in 2018.

READ MORE: Get involved on World Cleanup Day

In a little over an hour out on the water around London's bustling financial district, all sorts of litter was picked up using a pair of electric motor boats made of recycled plastics retrieved from the river, at the event run by Hubbub - a charity that aims to empower the mainstream to take environmental action through powerful collaborations; promoting community-led action and good design to tackle social as well as environmental issues.

Much of the waste was non-biodegradable, with rubber rings, discarded face masks, wrappers and portable charging devices among the finds fished from the river - enough to fill ten large buckets, all from one small corner of the capital's waters.

World Cleanup Day: Formula E cleans up the Thames!

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Formula E has introduced a number of initiatives since its inception as part of its sustainability programme to help educate and inspire its entire ecosystem to recycle while reducing the amount of waste produced on-site.

READ MORE: Formula E's sustainability drive

Working in close collaboration with Allianz, the championship introduced Hydration Stations in Season 5, with reusable, recyclable water pouches given out in the Allianz E-Village, and a mandate introduced that means no single-use plastic bottles are sold at Formula E events. This saw a saving of the equivalent of over 300,000 330ml bottles saved at Formula E events between January 2019 and March 2020.

‘Recycling Rangers’ can also be found in areas of high activity at E-Prix, assisting with educating teams, staff and spectators on how to maximise recycling and minimise waste, with a greater than 50% recycling rate achieved in Season 5.

Thanks to Formula E's partnership with Umicore, the series has a closed-loop approach to recycling its lithium ion batteries. The batteries, are collected and sorted, dismantled and recycled at end-of-life - the first batch being as Gen1 came to a close. Valuable metals are carefully recovered using proprietary and unique smelting technology - followed by hydrometallurgical treatment. This approach ensures there’s minimal waste, which lessens the impact on the environment - crucial as more people opt for electric vehicles.

a rack holding Michelin tyres at a Formula E pit lane

Built to balance sustainability, usability and efficiency

Michelin’s improved the sustainability credentials of its tyres across three generations of its Pilot Sport EV rubber. They’re now about 20 per cent lighter than they were in Season 1, without any real loss of grip or tyre life. That saves some 9kg per car which comes together across 24 cars over a course of a season – as well as meaning less weight for the car’s powertrain to fire around a race track, and a smaller amount of energy needed to do so.

READ MORE: Formula E's innovative tyres explained

In Season 7, the teams had 25 per cent fewer tyres to use at a single race event, and up to 50 per cent fewer at double-headers, meaning fewer tyres needed to be made, shipped and recycled than in any other FIA championship. This resulted in a saving of 720 tyres over the season, and a reduction of 50 tonnes of CO2 – slashing the tyres' impact by a third.

Second life

The life of Formula E’s tyres doesn’t end after they’ve left the race track, though, as 100 per cent of them go on to be recycled and are given a second life. “All of our tyres after each event go back to the warehouse and they’re recycled,” says Jerome Mondain, Michelin Motorsport’s Formula E Manager.

“One was they’re recycled is use in cement plants as the replacement for fossil fuels, and another example of a use they’re given is in playground and kindergarten floors or in road surfaces."

Find out more about how Formula E is driving sustainability forward and how the series minimizes its footprint