Martian Invasion of Races 2023 Sustainability Report

The weather was so good for this year’s Martian Invasion of Races I wonder if RF Events gave Mother Nature the wrong date for this race. We’ve had rain, snow, ice storms, and huge wind gusts in the past. It did get warm by noon, but most runners had finished by then.

Chris Cakes provided pancakes and sausage, employing their famous “flip ‘em onto the plate” technique. RF Events provided them with compostable plates, sporks, and cups, which saved us from having either to wash or landfill plastic forks and condiment packs.

Total waste was up nearly 300 lbs. from 2022, in part due to higher attendance and in part due to the post-race pancakes. But landfill was up only two pounds, and still under ten!

A Good Sense Coffee truck provided the essential runner’s nutrients. Their cups are normally compostable but their shipment was late so they had to use waxed ones. No problem because our recycling provider accepted them.

We set up stations by the registration pavilion/starting line and next to the pancake station, which was new this year. The vendor area was policed instead of getting a dedicated station. At the finish line I placed an All Waste box on top of a trash can and swapped it out periodically. This setup worked well.

RF Events ordered a 10-yard recycling dumpster from Unlimited Recycling, wonderful for the Zero Waste team because they accept waxed paper cups. We filled it completely. We also filled four 96-gallon carts with compostables.

Kudos to the crews who collected plastic wrap and broke down their cardboard boxes at the finish line and with the finisher medals.

Unfortunately, like last year, the quality of the aid station bags was mixed. The early ones from the 5K and first stations were fine. But some bags of cups from the other stations had heavy contamination from Gu packets. My team worked hard, but I finally called a halt and took the remaining bags to sort at home. We will need to fix this situation.

We had another hiccup with our food & drink vendors. I offered to take the coffee truck’s recyclable waste but gave back a bag that had coffee grounds mixed in. With Chris Cakes I offered to compost the pancakes that fell on the ground or were miscooked. But they left bags of mixed trash, the recyclables covered with pancake dough. So I composted the pancakes and tossed the rest (not counted in landfill total, as I had intended them to pack it out). I will need to check more carefully going forward.

Despite all this we still achieved nearly 99 percent diversion! Thanks to my hardworking team: Alexandria and Katy in the morning, Brian in the afternoon, and Debbie for both shifts.

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