The Ann Arbor Goddess returned to downtown Ann Arbor after three years. An event that has raised over $190,000 for women-focused charities, it features a 5K, kids run, and a “Chocolate Mile” with treats supplied by Willy Wonka in person. And Congressional representative Debbie Dingell was handling out medals at the finish line. With all that going on, Epic Races just had to make it sustainable. Don’t make the Goddess angry!

One cleanup was needed before I even set up. The City trash can at State & Liberty, where runners would be lining up, was stuffed full, with more trash spilled around it. I cleaned it up and covered the can to avoid a further mess. I also picked up litter on Liberty up one block beyond the starting line. (The landfill from that cleanup is not included in the race totals, as the race didn’t generate it.)

A single Zero Waste Station was placed next to the food tables. It was enough, a good thing because my two registered volunteers never showed. It happens!

Post-race food was warm fruit crepes, salad, cinnamon rolls, and bananas. The plates, forks, and cups were all compostable, making that part simple. Recycling came from cardboard, water bottles, plastic bags, and cups from nearby coffee shops.

The only hiccup was a bag of mixed waste from the food area, which was handed to me during takedown. A bit annoying because recyclables and plastic bags were mixed in with chocolate-smeared plates and oily salad leavings. So some messy hand sorting was needed. A good reminder to always check in with them and work out a better disposal method before the rush hits.

This little girl sang the National Anthem with no help needed. Willy Wonka (left) is impressed!

Still, a great result overall, with just a bit of tape and some plastic too contaminated to recycle. Plus one full can of beer someone found in a porta-john. I poured it out as a libation to the Goddess. Whoever she is.