Happy Planet Running

Run a great race. Leave no trace.

HPR Mission

Running is good for people. It should be good for the Earth, too! Click the photo for a video that shows what Happy Planet Running is all about – and how the Can’d Aid Foundation can help you get started with a Zero Waste program!

TMW - Tent in use

This site promotes and supports running events that are environmentally friendly, energy frugal, and as waste-free as possible, while providing a great experience for everyone involved – runners, spectators, and volunteers.

Sound good? Are you hooked? Browse this site and find out what’s happening with sustainable running. And if you know something we don’t, please give us a holler and enlighten us!
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Featured post

A Green Race Indeed! Shamrocks & Shenanigans 5K Sustainability Report

A big, fast race on a cold day downtown, and two volunteers had to manage the entire Zero Waste effort. It would be hard to beat last year’s 96.7 percent landfill diversion with under six pounds of trash. Would they be flying it, or would it be a scundered bollox job? See below!

Continue reading “A Green Race Indeed! Shamrocks & Shenanigans 5K Sustainability Report”

Recyclable Cups? A New Hope

Runners love their coffee, and during races they need water and other hydration drinks. The most popular method for delivering the drinks continues to be paper cups. And why not? They’re inexpensive, lightweight, and do their job well. And they’re often provided free to races by sponsors such as Absopure.

But the standard cup is lined with polyethylene (PE) – a plastic – to seal the seams and waterproof the paper. The lining makes the cup difficult to recycle. At paper mills that aren’t set up to screen out PE, it can gum up the machinery. Entire bales of paper containing cups could be rejected and end up in a landfill or incinerator. And that’s a shame, because the paper itself is high-quality pulp that is very useful when recycled.

Continue reading “Recyclable Cups? A New Hope”

Could You Cover Your Glass, Please? Super 5K Sustainability Report

A snowy Sunday morning in Michigan, but over 1,000 runners came out to get in a 5K before the Big Game. And all of them would want to grab hot dogs, cookies, pint glasses and awards, and be on their way soon afterward. In past years the rush has been very challenging for the Zero Waste team. Could we keep up this year, and improve on last year’s 93 percent diversion? We were going to find out!

Continue reading “Could You Cover Your Glass, Please? Super 5K Sustainability Report”

Big Feet, Small Footprint: Bigfoot Snowshoe Race Sustainability Report

The snow had mostly melted south of Traverse City, but at Timber Ridge there was hard pack on the groomed trails and deep dry powder in the singletrack sections. Perfect for a snowshoe race! Temperatures in the 30s meant some racers ran in T-shirts and shorts, but the lines for the post-race chili were as long as ever. The Zero Waste team had to be on their toes! Could we improve on last year’s 86 percent diversion, and avoid any unpleasant surprises?

Continue reading “Big Feet, Small Footprint: Bigfoot Snowshoe Race Sustainability Report”

HPR Accepts Environmental Excellence Award

What’s more fun than getting an award? An award plus getting to promote sustainability at running events!

Happy Planet Running has been given a 2018 Eunice L. Burns Environmental Awareness Award from the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors (AAABoR). I accepted the award at their annual meeting on January 10.

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I was nominated for the award by Mary Culbertson of Epic Races, who is also an AAABoR member. Thanks again, Mary!

As part of the award I was invited to give a brief presentation about my company and what we’ve been able to accomplish. The following is an edited version of my presentation and remarks.

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Ski-riffic! Frosty Freestyle Sustainability Report

In March 2017, Epic Races started their Zero Waste program, and wrapped up the year with a landfill diversion rate well over 90 percent. Could that performance carry over into 2018, and at a ski race instead of a run or triathlon? Indeed! Read on for details.

Continue reading “Ski-riffic! Frosty Freestyle Sustainability Report”

Brrr! Holiday Hustle Sustainability Report

It was Holiday Hustle time in Dexter, where several thousand diehard runners showed up, hustled their way through a mile or three, and then hustled out of there. And supporting them was over a hundred diehard staff and volunteers determined to help them enjoy the experience.

The Zero Waste team was fired up to finish the year on a strong note. But a late afternoon winter race meant a dark, cold takedown. And we had to keep moving fast just to stay warm. Did we get everything taken care of before we all turned into ice sculptures? Yes! – sort of. Read on!

Continue reading “Brrr! Holiday Hustle Sustainability Report”

Happy Planet Running Receives Environmental Awareness Award!

From the Totally Unexpected News desk: I’ve won an award!

The Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors (AAABoR) has selected HPR to receive its Eunice L. Burns Environmental Awareness Award for 2018.

The award recognizes HPR for developing Zero Waste programs for local running events such as the Ann Arbor Marathon and the Dexter and Ann Arbor Turkey Trots. In 2017 HPR helped 30 events recycle and compost over 15,000 pounds (nearly eight tons) of event waste that would otherwise have gone to a landfill.

Firecracker 5K - single bag of trash
2017 Firecracker 5K: Total event trash held up with two pinkies!

The award will be presented at the AAABoR General Membership Meeting in January. I’ll provide details after the date is confirmed, and again after the ceremony.

More information about the award, and its past recipients, can be found on the award’s web page here.

Many thanks to Mary at Epic Races for nominating HPR and to AAABoR for selecting me!

Cold Turkey, Hot Chocolate, Zero Waste

A cold, blustery morning didn’t stop thousands of people from packing downtown Ann Arbor for the annual Turkey Trot. With a hot chocolate and coffee station for the runners, we promised to be awash in cups, as well as bananas, cookies, and cardboard from all the boxes.

We learned last year that making the race waste go where we wanted was not easy. But this year we came in with a new plan and a bigger team. Could we get everything cleaned up, sorted, and disposed of before the football games and the afternoon gorging?

Continue reading “Cold Turkey, Hot Chocolate, Zero Waste”

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