Downtown Ann Arbor Turkey Trot Sustainability Report

Despite a chilly rain, the downtown Ann Arbor Turkey Trot 5K and kids run took place on schedule, with a good crowd on hand. And despite the conditions, the Zero Waste Team had its best Turkey Trot to date, with less than one pound of landfill!

There were several changes from the 2019 edition of this event. Attendance was capped at 2,500 instead of the usual 4,000, resulting in a reduced race “footprint” on Liberty St. Food and drink were served closer to the finish line, and we did not order a recycle dumpster or any compost carts.

And what’s a Turkey Trot without a Christmas Elvis?

The reduction of the race footprint was welcome, as we had a small Zero Waste team. So we set up the main station next to the food and hot chocolate tables, where traffic was heaviest. We covered some of the City trash cans and policed the rest, recovering race waste where we saw it.

Lower attendance resulted in lower overall waste (fewer T-shirts, less food and drink at the finish line). And not pre-cutting the bananas (as was done in 2019) saved waste as well. And as in previous years, the hot chocolate cups (from Bearclaw Coffee) were compostable, meaning no rinsing was required. The only landfill was some tape from boxes, and some PPE.

My super helpers Rachel and Eugene!

Finally, thanks again to my visiting daughter Rachel and her fiancé Eugene, who stepped up to help when I had no other volunteers signed up. Without them, I might still be there!

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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