Bigfoot Snowshoe Race 2020 Sustainability Report

The Bigfoot Snowshoe Race has another great year, both out in the snow, and inside keeping event waste out of the landfill. When there is so little trash you misplace it, you gotta be doing something right!

Sustainability Report: Bigfoot Snowshoe 5K/10K
Date: January 25, 2020
Event company: RF Events, Ann Arbor MI
Location: Timber Ridge Resort, Traverse City MI
# Attendees: 520
Zero Waste Team members: 6

Results:  97.5 percent landfill diversion

Compostables: 30.2 lbs.     Recyclables: 88.9 lbs.     Landfill: 3 lbs. (est.)

Recycling increases were due to additional cardboard and Styrofoam (used in trophy boxes). Main contributors to landfill trash were Gu and GoGo SqueeZ packets, which we’d intended to save for TerraCycle, but got misplaced somehow and must have ended up in a trash basket.

Race Overview

It had rained all day Friday, but the snowshoe race was on for Saturday morning, and over five hundred “shoers” showed up and ran a 5K or 10K through the groomed paths and singletrack at Timber Ridge. The course was in surprisingly good condition, which led to fast times across the board. It was 32 degrees at race start, nearly a fifty degree increase from the 2019 temperature of 14 below!

The thrill of victory. . .
And. . .you know the rest.

Zero Waste Plan

Like last year, Bay Area Recycling for Charities (BARC) provided four sets of ClearStream compost and recycling bins. We put one set inside near the exit to the race area, one outside next to the table of cookies, one near the lodge entrance door, and one at Ground Zero, which we placed near the snowshoe rental table. Trash cans inside the lodge and in the race area were moved or covered.

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Post-race food was chili and cookies, served outdoors this year. The chili bowls and spoons were compostable. GoGo SqueeZ set up a table handing out packets of applesauce and yogurt. We placed the packets in the landfill stream, planning to sort them out later.

Water cups were standard waxed paper, but BARC recycles them. They also take Styrofoam – a good thing, since we had quite a bit of it this year.

Post-Event Waste Processing

BARC took away the collected compostables and recyclables. Discarded race bibs were saved by HPR for TerraCycle. We would have done the same with the Gu and GoGo SqueeZ packs, but somehow we lost track of the bright orange bag holding them. Who’d have thought we’d need to keep an eye on the trash?

Collected waste and the taken-down stations. Where’s the trash? Anyone seen it?

What Went Well

Everything went smoothly. The waste stations seemed to be placed well, and the participants are more used to the process. We had a large enough team, including my wife and four of our friends, to staff the stations and keep them sorted real-time.

Using compostable materials also makes things easier – no rinsing needed.

I wasn’t expecting to collect many used race bibs, but we put the box out anyway, and collected quite a few! Something we should consider at all events.

Challenges & Opportunities for Improvement

None I can think of.

Published by RunBikeThrow

By day, I'm a mild-mannered Director of Training at a software company in Ann Arbor, MI. By night - I sleep, mostly. In between, I do other things I feel the need to write about. Check out to view my thoughts on running, cycling, Aikido, and other things that keep me going.

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