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Running Between the Vines

Running Between the Vines Sustainability Report

The run at Sandhill Crane Vineyards returned this year, and conditions were perfect for both the races and the post-race party. “It’s almost like cheating,” the race director said of the weather.

The event features a half marathon, 5-miler, and 5K. After their race, runners head behind the vineyard to enjoy live jazz, wine tastings, and local goodies such as hummus, meatballs, olive oil, and chocolate. RF Events used compostable cups for all the treats they served.

This year we made some changes to our Zero Waste setup. Instead of unstaffed tents we had two staffed stations, one near the registration tent and one in the party area. This was all we could handle, due to just two staffers and no volunteers, a consistent problem at all events this year. People were instructed to put their waste in boxes marked “All Waste” and we sorted from there.

Zero Waste pro Debbie at the station near registration.
Some random guy working the main station.

A temporary station was set up and staffed near the porta-potties until the races had all started. And for those runners doing both the 5K and 5-miler, there was a recycling bin for their water bottles.

It’s staffed, honest! But someone had to take the photo.

This setup reduced the mixed waste problems we had with using tents. Still, we had a couple of unexpected curveballs tossed at us. First, the vineyard did wine tastings with small plastic cups instead of using the finisher tumblers. So we had to pick out those cups from the compostable ones.

Pop quiz: Which of these cups are recyclable, and which are compostable?

Second, no doubt due to good intentions, someone set up additional trash cans among the snack tents. By the time someone pointed this out to us, there was a significant amount of completely mixed waste, resulting in a lot of extra sorting, plus removing food and oil from the recyclable cups. (This was accomplished by using a washing machine.) For next year we’ll have to coordinate more closely with the vineyard staff.

Total waste was down significantly from 2019. While less waste is good, it can be chalked up nearly entirely to lower attendance, as waste per 100 runners remained consistent with previous years.

P.S. To answer the “pop quiz” above – the three cups on the left are recyclable, and the three on the right are certified compostable. And you can’t mix the two types in either stream. Simple, right?

Wine, Dine, and Run: Running Between the Vines 2019 Sustainability Report

What’s better than an early morning run that ends in a vineyard? Getting to have wine afterwards, of course – with live jazz and food thrown in. And you get a shirt, and a race-branded wine goblet to enjoy the vintages of your choice!

With all that pampering comes hundreds of pounds of cardboard boxes, banana peels, water bottles, cups, and other stuff that, for some reason, the runners would rather not take with them. So it’s up to the Zero Waste team to make sure as much of that as possible is returned to productive use instead of the landfill.

With a large turnout and a small team, were we up to the challenge? Find out below.

Continue reading “Wine, Dine, and Run: Running Between the Vines 2019 Sustainability Report”

Running Between the Vines 2018 Sustainability Report

“Come taste the wine, come hear the band, . . . and run a half marathon!”

Actually, you get the run in first. Then you collect your medal and finisher’s wine tumbler, and head to the post-race party featuring food and drink from local vendors, and wine from the vineyard hosting the event. For the runners, it’s one grand morning.

For the Zero Waste team, not so much. What happens when you’re short on volunteers and collection bins at one of the busiest and most waste-producing events of the year? All is revealed below!

Continue reading “Running Between the Vines 2018 Sustainability Report”

No Sour Grapes! Running Between the Vines Achieves 99 Percent Diversion

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!

Continue reading “No Sour Grapes! Running Between the Vines Achieves 99 Percent Diversion”

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