Baby, it was cold outside! But due to their dedication to the great sport of running, hundreds of people came out to run at Hudson Mills anyway. Or maybe it was the Ray’s Red Hots, hot chocolate and pumpkin pie. Either way, the Zero Waste team had a job to do. How’d we manage? Smooth as gravy! Read on.
Dances with Dirt – Hell is an excuse for several thousand people to dress up in wild costumes, run a few miles on trails, get dirty, and then consume a lot of beer. Hundreds of relay teams and a few brave solo ultrarunners carve their way through the Pinckney recreation area – some of it actually intended to be trail, some perhaps not.
Last year the Zero Waste team had a “hell” of a time when the exit rush occurred, getting “swamped” with pizza boxes and beer bottles. We managed a diversion percentage in the 80s but quite a bit of recoverable material ended up in the trash dumpster when we ran out of time to properly sort the recyclables, and out of bins for the food waste. Could we do better this year?
Attempting Zero Waste at a race that also involves wining and dining 2,000 people? No problem! A beautiful morning for a challenging set of races, and despite being up to our epaulets in cardboard, the Zero Waste team achieved a high for the year in waste diversion. Read on to see how we did it!
“This is the best race EVER!” a woman excitedly told me at the Zero Waste station. “You guys thought of everything! And recycling, too!”
Realistically, the Zero Waste program at Swim to the Moon played only a small part of a very well-run event. Most of her thanks belongs to the first-rate staff of Epic Races and their volunteers. Still, I’d like to think seeing the recycling and composting bins was what drove her over the top.
So was her exuberant statement justified? Read on to find out!
The Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon is one of the biggest in the United States, drawing 25,000+ runners from all over the world each year. The race passes through four cities, each with their own sustainability (recycling, composting, etc.) protocols and vendor contracts. Getting all four cities to pull together to deliver as sustainable an event as possible is a logistical challenge of epic proportions. To find out how they’re going about it, GSB talked with Jamie Simon, the Sustainability Consultant for Conqur Endurance Group, the event organizer.
GreenSportsBlog: Jamie, thanks for joining us. How did you get involved with Conqur Endurance Group?
Jamie Simon: I joined Conqur Endurance Group as a sustainability consultant. Before that I had been sustainability director of Red Bull USA…
GSB: That must’ve been fascinating. When were you there?
JS: From 1999-2009, with the last two years in the sustainability role. The…
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When I crossed the finish line of my first marathon back in 2011, I was handed a thin, light foil blanket. A runner’s body temperature begins to drop rapidly after stopping, and this was to retain some body heat until things stabilized.
It was over eighty degrees and sunny that day, so there was no danger of hypothermia. Still, I took the blanket as a first-marathon souvenir. But last month’s local marathon was wet and chilly, so the runners appreciated them, although they created a disposal issue.
The blankets are made of Mylar, plastic vapor-coated with aluminum. Both materials are recyclable by themselves, but together they are not. And when people started discarding them en masse, the volume quickly overloaded the receptacle. The Zero Waste team decided to collect them in the chance we could keep them out of the landfill.
We ended up with several large bags stuffed with Mylar blankets. What could be done? After some research we identified one bad option, one good (but costly) option, and one that didn’t help for this year but might for future events. Which one did we choose? Read on to find out!
Hooray for runners! Not only are they cool people, they care about the environment. Every runner I know supports Zero Waste, and we’ve received many, many thank-yous and compliments from race participants.
And yet they do some things that make a Zero Waste effort more difficult. I know it’s not intentional; it’s more a lack of understanding how labor-intensive the process is.
A runner’s involvement with trash ends when it’s put in the bin or tent, but the Zero Waste team has to ensure it all goes in the right place. Final sort consumes a lot of time just when we’re trying to pack up and leave. Every saved minute helps!
Here are a few things all runners can do to help an event’s sustainability team. Trust me, we’ll love you all the more for doing them!
From the Green Sports Blog: the latest on the new shoes from Adidas that are made from recycled ocean waste. After an initial pilot run, they are promising to make ONE MILLION pairs in 2017. I can’t wait to get my hands on a pair!
Conventional wisdom has it that, given the anti-environmentalist attitudes of the current occupant of the Oval Office, the corporate sector will need to step up, bigly, on behalf of serious action on climate change. With that in mind, GreenSportsBlog will, from time to time, highlight “Green-Sports Corporate All Stars” taking the lead at the intersection of Green + Sports. Today we feature adidas, and its recently launched sneaker made primarily from plastic ocean waste, and Patagonia, the über-Green outdoor sports apparel designer and retailer as it encourages longer life spans for its (and its competitors’) garments.
CORPORATIONS NEED TO STEP UP THEIR CLIMATE CHANGE GAME
The forecast for positive climate change action from the current administration is stormy.
At Tuesday’s sort-of State of the Union, President Trump did not mention climate change. One of his executive orders is designed to eventually allow coal companies to more easily dump waste into streams. Newly installed EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt…
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Date: February 5, 2017
Event company: RF Events, Ann Arbor MI
Location: Novi High School, Novi MI
# Attendees: 2,000 runners
Zero Waste Team volunteers: 5 (plus 3 more at takedown/cleanup)
The Super 5K is held every year on the morning of Super Bowl Sunday. As it’s usually cold, runners gather inside Novi High School before the race, and then go inside again afterward for awards and post-race food (hot dogs, meatballs cookies and bananas). The total number of runners, spectators, and staff is usually around 2,000.
After the 8:30 a.m. start it’s quiet in the main area for about half an hour. Then it’s a mob of people eating and hanging around until about 10:30. With so many people eating and then leaving in such a short time, control of the waste streams can quickly be lost, as happened in last year’s DWD Hell race. How were we going to avoid a costly fumble?