Run Scream Run 2019 Sustainability Report

A scary race in an apple orchard, with a costume contest and cider and donuts for the survivors. That’s Run Scream Run, a 5K or 10K race that takes runners through an orchard, nearby woods, and through a haunted village featuring mummies and chainsaw-wielding maniacs.

And what if the cups, leftover food, and cardboard had to be buried in a landfill? Now that’s scary! Fortunately, the Zero Waste team was there to make sure that didn’t happen. How little of the event’s waste ended up in a “grave?” See below to find out!
Sustainability Report: Run Scream Run
Date: October 12, 2019
Event company: RF Events, Ann Arbor MI
Location: Wiard’s Orchards, Ypsilanti MI
# Attendees: 1,300
Zero Waste Team size: 3 (Captain: Ed Green)

Results:  97.4 percent landfill diversion
Compostables: 40.9 lbs.     Recyclables: 172.8 lbs.     Landfill: 5.7 lbs.

Pie and trend charts - Run Scream Run 2019
Race Overview

Run Scream Run is a morning race, but does its best to “scare” the runners, with zombies lurking along the course in the orchard and nearby woods, and in the “Haunted Village” near the finish line. Costumes are welcomed, and there are prizes for the best ones.

This race is also part of the Michigan Orchard Challenge series (the other two are the Scrumpy Skedaddle and the new Go Apples race).

After the race, runners get bottles of water and then head for cider and donuts. Real-time sorting is important, as wet donuts can cause a lot of contamination if they get into the recyclables.

Zero Waste Plan

We set up four Zero Hero tents: two side-by-side at the start/finish line, one at the exit of the barn where the food was being handed out, and one between the barn and the porta-potties.

We put out a separate ‘cups only’ box at each set of tents (3 total). This worked well, but it would be nice to have a ‘cups only’ sign.

We put one ‘sort later’ box and bag at the registration tent, which was located in the parking lot some distance from the race area.

Post-Event Waste Processing

Recyclables were taken back to RF Events, where HPR (Jeff) took the standard items to Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority, and plastic bags to Recycle Ann Arbor. Ed took the food waste to Tuthill Farms.

What Went Well

The volunteers handing out the food were very cooperative.  We kept a close lookout on this area, and that helped reduce sorting at the end.


While people at RF Events races seem to be getting the hang of how to dispose of their waste, this race was not one of the better ones.  There was a lot of sorting to be done on the bags that came back from the support areas, which meant we were the last group to be done at takedown. Most of the work had to be done in a short window of time.

Opportunities for Improvement

More education of the aid station volunteers to ensure they keep their waste sorted as much as possible.

Switch tent layout to two at the exit of the barn, and one at the start/finish line.

Have “Cups Only” signs available to use for separate cup bins.

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