Swim to the Moon 2022 Sustainability Report

It was raining when the Green Team arrived at Halfmoon Lake for the 2022 Swim to the Moon, an entirely swim-based event featuring distances from a half-mile up to 10K. Quite a few of the over 700 people who registered didn’t show. “Guess they were afraid they’d get wet,” the announcer said. But those did jump in the lake had a great time, as the rain stopped and it turned into a great morning for a swim. And they stuck around for a post-race party, which kept us on our toes.

Part of the finish area during peak party.

We set up the main Zero Waste station in the party area near the other vendors, and an unattended table with All Waste boxes on the other side of the food tent, which we swapped out regularly. Not the best option, but the team consisted only of me and my intern Grace. She was ready at 5:30 a.m. – no mean feat for a college student – and worked her tail off the entire event.

Grace holds down the main station.
Satellite station. It filled up quickly. Could have been closer to the finish line, and ideally would have had a volunteer here.

Post-race food was the standard Epic Races breakfast of egg wraps, pancakes, and mac & cheese, along with bananas, snack bars, and ice cream bars.

This race always seems to feature a couple of hiccups, and we had them again this year. One was the appearance of “rogue” trash cans near the porta-potties (found and removed early) and on the far side of the post-race party area (found at cleanup). One part of the kitchen area had scattered empty water jugs, and the finish line collection of empty cardboard boxes got filled with all kinds of waste.

Not a good look. (Note: this was after I’d done some of the cleanup.)

Both of those were quickly cleaned up, but I wish we’d known about them earlier. Understandable, as we were short-staffed everywhere and too busy to communicate well. But we can make some improvements for next time, such as moving the second station closer to the finish line, and, hopefully, have someone to staff it.

A pleasant surprise was someone who took all the mac & cheese bags filled with residue, saying she’d make a killer mac & cheese at home with it. Saved me time and effort washing them out, or adding them to the landfill.

And we had our best result yet, with just six pounds going to landfill. That’s less than half the total of any previous year. And the diversion rate of 98 percent was also the best for this event. If we can find compostable solutions for holding the egg wraps and the ice cream bars, we can do even better.

I also want to note that this race supports North Star Reach, a camp that allows kids with special medical needs to enjoy a typical camp experience. Read the story of one of the camper’s parents here.

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