Hell of a Good Day: Dances with Dirt 2022 Sustainability Report

It was a pretty good day in Hell for Dances with Dirt this year. A brief rain in the morning turned into a cool overcast day, with the sun peeking out occasionally. A perfect day for solo and relay ultras in the woods.

6:15 a.m. – the 50K and 50-mile solo runners bravely hit the trails.

The big change from 2021 was relocation from Halfmoon Lake to Camp Bruin, also the new home of Run Woodstock. Great for the Green Team, with no pre-existing dumpster or park trash cans to worry about.

The main Zero Waste station was set up across from the pavilion and hot dog truck. There was a small aid station for the solo ultrarunners near the pavilion, which we set two All Waste boxes at, changing them as they filled up. The runners had no trouble finding us, and we got many questions and compliments!

Grace at the Zero Waste Station. On the right (her left) is the “Free Stuff” table consisting of reusable discards from other events.

Food was available from Mean Weenie and My Little Honey Pot. Both used compostable items, although there were a couple of hiccups. My Little Honey Pot thought they were using compostable coffee cup lids, but they were polystyrene (#6 plastic). Not a problem for us thanks to TerraCycle, but I alerted them to the issue. Mean Weanie began handing out plastic-wrapped sets of plastic cutlery, but once I discovered that I gave them compostable sporks. They said with more advance notice they can be all compostable next time.

The post-race beer changed from cans to cups from kegs, so we had a lot fewer deposit cans and bottles, meaning recycling weight dropped dramatically. Compost increased slightly, but still way down from 2019 and earlier with the switch from pizza to hot dogs. Landfill consisted mainly of non-compostable wet wipes, and lots of mustard, ketchup, and relish wrappers from Mean Weenie. If they can go to pumps next time we’ll cut the landfill significantly.

Another help was early dropping off of aid station bags. They were all in before it got dark, allowing us to sort nearly all of them. Quality varied, with some bags well sorted, with a few a mixed mess of everything. Still, nothing like it has been in years past.

Shoe collection this year was 18 pairs, down from 45 in 2021. They will go to Got Sneakers for resale or recycling. We also collected some shirts, socks, two Run Woodstock 100-mile hoodies, and a nice North Face jacket.

Love the woman in the background!

On the downside, we had no volunteers, but fortunately Grace and I were able to keep everything under control. We were even packed up and out of there by 8 p.m., which is a record for this event. Gotta love that!

Grace with our standard SBoT (Single Bag o’ Trash).

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