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Happy Planet Running

Run a great race. Leave no trace.

Ski-riffic! Frosty Freestyle Sustainability Report

In March 2017, Epic Races started their Zero Waste program, and wrapped up the year with a landfill diversion rate well over 90 percent. Could that performance carry over into 2018, and at a ski race instead of a run or triathlon? Indeed! Read on for details.

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Brrr! Holiday Hustle Sustainability Report

It was Holiday Hustle time in Dexter, where several thousand diehard runners showed up, hustled their way through a mile or three, and then hustled out of there. And supporting them was over a hundred diehard staff and volunteers determined to help them enjoy the experience.

The Zero Waste team was fired up to finish the year on a strong note. But a late afternoon winter race meant a dark, cold takedown. And we had to keep moving fast just to stay warm. Did we get everything taken care of before we all turned into ice sculptures? Yes! – sort of. Read on!

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Happy Planet Running Receives Environmental Awareness Award!

From the Totally Unexpected News desk: I’ve won an award!

The Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors (AAABoR) has selected HPR to receive its Eunice L. Burns Environmental Awareness Award for 2018.

The award recognizes HPR for developing Zero Waste programs for local running events such as the Ann Arbor Marathon and the Dexter and Ann Arbor Turkey Trots. In 2017 HPR helped 30 events recycle and compost over 15,000 pounds (nearly eight tons) of event waste that would otherwise have gone to a landfill.

Firecracker 5K - single bag of trash
2017 Firecracker 5K: Total event trash held up with two pinkies!

The award will be presented at the AAABoR General Membership Meeting in January. I’ll provide details after the date is confirmed, and again after the ceremony.

More information about the award, and its past recipients, can be found on the award’s web page here.

Many thanks to Mary at Epic Races for nominating HPR and to AAABoR for selecting me!

Cold Turkey, Hot Chocolate, Zero Waste

A cold, blustery morning didn’t stop thousands of people from packing downtown Ann Arbor for the annual Turkey Trot. With a hot chocolate and coffee station for the runners, we promised to be awash in cups, as well as bananas, cookies, and cardboard from all the boxes.

We learned last year that making the race waste go where we wanted was not easy. But this year we came in with a new plan and a bigger team. Could we get everything cleaned up, sorted, and disposed of before the football games and the afternoon gorging?

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Worth Gobbling About! A2 Turkey Trot Sustainability Report

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.

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Sweet Success! Hot Cocoa Classic Sustainability Report

How do you get several hundred people to show up on a cold, gray morning and climb a steep hill to begin a run? Promise them hot chocolate afterward! With a lot of food and drink being consumed in a short time, could the Zero Waste effort keep up? With a good process and thoughtful use of materials, the answer was Yes. Read on for how we did it.

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Slam that Cider! Scrumpy Skedaddle 2017 Zero Waste Report

A perfect fall morning, a run through an apple orchard, pancakes, and the best draft hard cider on the planet. That’s as good as it gets, folks. And this year, over 2,000 people showed up at Almar Orchards in Flushing to run, eat, and imbibe.

The Scrumpy Skedaddle is a great race, but last year it posed some real challenges to the Zero Waste team. A lot of people were served in a short time, the waste materials needed heavy sorting, we were short on volunteers, and we had to pull hundreds of individual butter packets out of the food waste and recycle bins, trying not to piss off carb-loading yellow jackets buzzing everywhere.

Could things go more smoothly this time? Read on!
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Can You Recycle Race Bibs? Yes!

Good news from the Zero Waste Running department: one more thing that has been going to the landfill at our events turns out to be recyclable!

I’m talking about a particular item familiar to people who run races of all distances. (See the featured photo if you need a hint.) Read on to find out how to recycle them!

Continue reading “Can You Recycle Race Bibs? Yes!”

Down and Dirty: Dances with Dirt – Hell 2017

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?

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