Welcome to the Bigfoot Snowshoe race, where the temperature – and the trash – were both close to zero this year!

You know a Zero Waste effort is going well when you have less than one pound of trash but still want to do better. And then we found a way to reduce it to nearly nothing! Read on to find out how, and see the end of this report for a bonus.

Sustainability Report: Bigfoot Snowshoe 5K/10K 2019
Date: January 26, 2019
Event company: RF Events, Ann Arbor MI
Location: Timber Ridge Resort, Traverse City MI
# Attendees: 450 runners, about 100 staff and spectators
Zero Waste Team members: 2

Results:     Compostables: 25.5 lbs.     Recyclables: 56 lbs.     Landfill: 1.25 OUNCES

pie and trend charts - bigfoot snowshoe 2019

bigfoot snowshoe 2019 - total trashThe main contributor to landfill trash was disposable hand warmers, with a little tape and McDonald’s packaging, which came to about 14 ounces. Then we found out that TerraCycle will accept the disposable hand warmers, reducing our landfill to 1.25 ounces. New record of 99.9 percent diversion!

Race Overview

It was colder than usual at Timber Ridge Resort, but there was plenty of good powder, and over four hundred die-hard runners strapped ‘em on and busted into the woods. As RF Events owner Randy Step said, “Not a wimp in the bunch.”

A warm lodge awaited the finishers along with hot chili from Slabtown Burgers, and several kinds of cookies.

Zero Waste Plan

Like last year, Bay Area Recycling for Charities (BARC) collected our compostables and recycling. They provided four sets of ClearStream compost and recycling bins. Two sets flanked the exit doors to the race area, one outside by the covered waste can, and one between the food table and lodge entrance door.

bigfoot snowshoe 2019 - clearstream station with infographic outside
Outside waste station, with the way cool infographic showing the 2018 Zero Waste results.

We set up the Ground Zero table near the race exit doors, with a pair of cardboard bins for composting and recycling. Trash went into a 5-gallon pail, along with TerraCycle items, for HPR to take back.

Due to the low temperature, we moved the water cups inside the lodge and served them at the Ground Zero table.

bigfoot snowshoe 2019 - ground zero station

Compostable bowls and spoons were used for post-race chili. Cups were standard waxed paper, but BARC accepted them in the recycling stream. Also per BARC direction there was no need to separate out plastic bags and Styrofoam from the recycling bins; they would sort them out afterward.

What Went Well

Using compostable bowls and spoons for chili made disposal easy: no rinsing required.

Having BARC supply the stations and take (just about) everything away was great. Just a small pail of miscellaneous stuff returned to Ann Arbor to be sorted for TerraCycle Zero Waste boxes.

Many thanks to my wife who helped keep things sorted and did the majority of the station teardown while I took a shower after my 5K.

The Zero Waste effort received a good plug during the presentation of awards.

bigfoot snowshoe 2019 - sasquatch trophy watching randy
Be careful with those prizes. Me watching you.

Challenges

None to speak of, really. The bins did require regular attention and sorting, but for the most part the signs and examples on them did the trick, and two Zero Waste team members were enough to take care of everything.

Opportunities for Improvement

With things going so smoothly and with so little trash, not much to discuss here!

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BONUS: Here are the ten most convincing Bigfoot sightings, according to Outside magazine.

 

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