Weather for this year’s Holiday Hustle 5K at Monument Park in Dexter, MI: Temperature in the mid-30s, with rain and snow flurries, and winds gusting to 50 MPH. Still over 1,000 runners braved the conditions and finished the race. And, as usual, Santa put in an appearance, and even put in some overtime. I think the FAA grounded his sled.

Due to the high winds, the event team did not put up their usual tents, or the start/finish arch. Registration was inside a fitness store, and volunteer check-in at a sheltered picnic area. With the race “footprint” thus much reduced, we set up a Zero Waste station close to the finish line, where the water bottles and post-race treats were handed out. It turned out to be an ideal location for directing runners to where everything was this year. As it was in the open, though, the team suffered from the weather.

Zero Waste Team members Bridget, Amelia, and Julia braving the icy winds. Note the lower sign (even then it blew off once). And we put bricks in the All Waste boxes to keep them on the table.

The park’s main lawn still had its fair share of runners cooling down, so we picked up a fair number of abandoned water bottles and other trash off the grass. We covered the park’s trash cans, and yet, as usual, some people put their waste on top of the covering bags. Finally I got the bright idea to put a collection box on top of the most heavily used can.

 

Post-race treats were chocolate chip cookies and pretzels, handed out in compostable bags. For some reason a number of cookies ended up on the ground (oh, the humanity!), which we added to the compost.

As might be expected, this year’s total waste collected was the lowest to date; less than one-third the usual of around 150 lbs. And the only landfill consisted of a few pieces of tape and one mask. Single baggie time!

Improvement idea for next year: when covering the trash cans, either put boxes on top, or signs pointing to the Zero Waste Station.