In a reversal of an earlier policy, recycling is coming to the PGA Championship this weekend at Quail Hollow Club.
Waste management company Republic Services, one of the tournament’s vendors, is “working closely with the subcontractor for the PGA Championship to implement recycling for the balance of the tournament this weekend,” a spokeswoman for the company said Friday.
The PGA Championship did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier Friday, Jeff Smithberger, director of Mecklenburg County Solid Waste, told the Observer that it was “frustrating” to learn that PGA Championship has not been providing recycling at this week’s golf major at Quail Hollow.
The county reached out to the PGA of America in June 2016 to see if it could help with recycling but tournament organizers indicated they had it covered, Smithberger said.
“We reached out to them to help,” he said. “We wanted to help. For them to not do it, it puts my group in a bad light.”
Green trash bags and white waste receptacles line the pathways around the course, but the Observer reported this week that fans and volunteers had been surprised to discover that the tournament was not offering recycling for cans and bottles. The event is expected to attract more than 200,000 fans this week to Quail Hollow.
“Everyone that stops and thinks about it is outraged,” Linda Luxenberg, a Davidson resident volunteering at the course, had told the Observer.
In a statement this week, 2017 PGA Championship Director Jason Mengel said the tournament understands “the importance of recycling and will be looking at ways to incorporate this important element in the future.”
In Mecklenburg, businesses contract with vendors to collect their waste, but there is a requirement by the county to have recycling, Smithberger said. Events are more of a gray area, and it’s possible the tournament meets certain recycling conditions without recycling bottles and cans, he said.
The lack of recycling at the PGA is a contrast with the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament, also played at Quail Hollow. According to that tournament’s web site, the Wells Fargo has offered recycling at the course since 2007, processing a total of 233 tons of aluminum, plastic, bunting, paper, and cardboard.
The Wells Fargo Championship is run by a nonprofit called Champions for Educations, while the PGA is run by the PGA of America, a national sports organization.
In addition to the Wells Fargo Championship, the county has worked with various sports teams and events, including the Carolina Panthers, the Charlotte Hornets, the Charlotte Knights and the 24 Hours of Booty bicycling event, to provide recycling, Smithberger said.
Rick Rothacker: 704-358-5170, @rickrothacker