What can fans do to reduce their carbon footprint at Euro 2020?

Availing of trains instead of planes one way or reducing emissions

For the first ever time, this year’s European Championships will take place across 12 different host cities around Europe, spanning the continent from Dublin in the west to Baku, over 5,000km away, in the east.

With fans set to take on huge feats of travel across the continent, much of the talk has been about the environmental impact so we had a look at how travelling supporters can reduce their carbon footprint and help make Euro 2020 a more environmentally friendly tournament.

Trains over planes

Rail travel produces significantly less carbon emissions than air travel and, with excellent rail networks in most central European countries, travelling by train can prove to be a cheaper and more enjoyable experience.

For instance, just one example is in Group F where Hungary (if they qualify), Portugal and France fans could travel from Budapest to paired host city Munich via overnight sleeper train for as little as €40 with a service leaving the Hungarian capital at 8.40pm each night and arriving in to Munich shortly before 7am the following morning.

It’s not every day you can get to experience travelling by sleeper train and it is something worth trying if you get the chance. There are also plenty of options to travel between host cities on daytime services which offer the chance to see different parts of Europe from the comfort of the train while travelling in a much more environmentally-friendly way.

For help in planning rail journeys around Europe, seat61.com is an excellent tool for all of the information you could need.

Carbon offsetting

If you were booking a flight recently you may have noticed an option at the payment stage to offset your carbon emissions. Ryanair are one of a number of airlines to provide the option which allows passengers to donate €1 as part of their booking which will go towards the airline’s carbon offsetting programmes, in theory reducing the amount of carbon you will produce from your journey by planting trees or something similar.

If you look up flights on Skyscanner it will also give you the choice to book the most carbon efficient option.

Carbon calculators

If the airline you're travelling with doesn't offer carbon offsetting or if you want to check out your carbon footprint for other journeys, there are a number of online carbon calculators which will do so for you. Websites such as calculator.carbonfootprint.com allow you to put in the details of your journey and then see how impactful it will be on the environment. You can then choose to offset those carbon emissions through websites such as terrapass.com and vita.ie.

Single-use plastics

Using a reusable coffee cup or a reusable water bottle are ways for people to reduce their carbon footprint in everyday life as well as when they are at a football tournament but it goes without saying that both coffee and water aren’t exactly the most consumed drinks among football fans. One way to reduce the use of plastic when drinking beer is to go to bars that serve pints in actual glasses and not in plastic cups. Doing so is beneficial to the environment but also to your taste buds as pints always taste better from glass than plastic. At some stadiums around Europe – particularly in Germany – they offer 50 cent or €1 back if you return your plastic cup when you are finished your pint, therefore offering an incentive not to bin it while also saving money.

– This article is part of a series of consumer-based sports stories. If you have any queries, stories or issues regarding travel, tickets, sport on television or anything else you can email rcroke@irishtimes.com or via Twitter @Ruaidhri_Croke.