Ho, Ho, Zero! Holiday Hustle 2022 Sustainability Report

For this year’s Holiday Hustle, I was prepared for anything. Remembering last year’s gale-like gusts, I brought along sidewalls for my canopy and braces for the Zero Waste Station sign, and was prepared to set up next to a building to block the wind if needed. So naturally, as I was so prepared, there was no wind at all, and we didn’t even bother setting up the canopy.

For the first time, the race added a half marathon, held in the morning at Erratic Ale, not far from the park, and using the Border-to-Border Trail. Both solo and relay team options were available, and over 400 runners showed up for it. With beer and BBQ offered afterwards, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised.

And plenty of colorful costumes.

The post-run area was taped off as a beer garden, so it was simple to place Zero Waste stations at either exit, with one more in the middle. Debbie manned the busiest station while I roved the area and swapped out full boxes from the other stations.

All went well, and after dropping off the collected waste at home, it was off to Monument Park for the 5K. Staffer Rachael and her friend Kye were there, as well as experienced Zero Waste volunteer Bridget.

We set up the main station near the start/finish, close to the post-race food, and close enough that we could easily collect the plastic wrap from cases of water bottles and cardboard boxes from the cookies. We were also very close to a street lamp, so we didn’t need additional lighting for the runners to find us. A second table near the pavilion, where Santa was, didn’t receive much business, so we ended up leaving it unstaffed and concentrated resources on the main station, where the action was.

At both races, finishers received bottles of water and compostable bags with chocolate chip cookies and pretzels.

Total waste was nearly triple the 2021 total, which is not surprising. Last year the weather was so bad, people took their water and goodie bags and took off for warmer places. This year, with better weather and a parade afterward, more people stuck around. Waste remained below pre-pandemic levels, however, in part due to beanies and medals being optional this year.

One little annoyance continued, being the amount of water bottles abandoned on curbs and in the park, despite two Zero Waste stations and All Waste boxes on top of park trash cans. Eight of the bottles were unopened, and many more had just a few sips taken from them. Seems to me that using smaller water bottles, or going to cups, might be better.

6. Dispose of waste responsibly!

But all in all, a great way to end 2022 on a high Zero Waste note!

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