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Firecracker 5K Sustainability Report

Independence Day in Ann Arbor wouldn’t be the same without its traditional 5K event. At least not to runners, and the Epic Races team! And so despite a warm morning and a new location, the show went on without a hitch.

This year’s event, for several reasons, took place at Briarwood Mall instead of downtown Ann Arbor. In addition to the 5K, there were one-mile and 7.5K options, and a short run for the little kids, led by Larry the Ginormous Hot Dog (see the top photo). There was also a “hot dog” division, where the contenders had 76 seconds to eat up to four hot dogs, and then run the 5K. One minute per hot dog was deducted from their finish times. Thankfully, no “cleanup by JC Penney” was required.

Post-race treats included bananas and candy, but by far the most popular were the red, white, and blue frozen “bomb pops”. We were equal to the task, composting the wooden sticks and sending the wrappers to TerraCycle.

The report below has the details and the fireworks-worthy result – under one pound to the landfill, which we tossed into one of the mall’s trash cans. It’s never a bad thing when our total event trash didn’t weigh as much as the mall-related trash in the parking lot!

It was also good to hear from a Briarwood staffer that the mall takes recycling seriously, and redid the roof to reduce energy costs. Way to go!

Triceratops Triathlon 2021 Sustainability Report

The RF Events T-Rex Triathlon series was back to normal last Wednesday, after a pint-sized Stegosaurus Tri earlier in June. Back to standard attendance, post-race sandwiches and live music, and the vibe of an athletic event!

With a team of just two people, we set up a single Zero Waste Station near the parking lot, and one in the party area instead of three Zero Hero tents. We focused on keeping the stations in order, and left “all waste” pails in the transition area. A bag for plastic wrap and a large recycling bin near the water bottles completed the setup.

                        Green Team volunteer Veronica mans the main station, while I took the party area station.

The approach had some interesting effects. No one had a problem with using the single station in the party area, and we ended up with less “outside” waste that usually comes from the beachgoers. The transition pails needed quite a bit of sorting and were really not large enough, so we’ll be looking for improvements there. Aid station waste was mainly  ups and water jugs, and did not require much sorting.

The trend chart below the report shows we had a dramatic drop in total waste, particularly food waste and compostables – a 75 percent drop from 2019. One reason was serving sandwiches on napkins – no plates or wrappers – which worked just fine. There also seemed to be less overall food consumed by the athletes. We’ll be looking to see if this continues.

Overall, a great result on a beautiful day!

The Classic Returns: RF Events Trail Marathon Weekend 2021 Sustainability Report

April 24-25, 2021 – Pinckney Recreation Area, Silver Lake

After over a year, RF Events returned to live races this month with its longstanding (34 years) classic trail marathon, and HPR was there to support the newer tradition (5 years) of making the race Zero Waste.

Due to park restrictions, attendance was limited to 300 per day, and with additional precautions, aid station food and drink was limited. This, plus the race going “cupless” in 2019 sharply reduced overall waste. Normally, the heavy use of prepackaged snacks would lead to more landfill. But thanks to TerraCycle, we’re able to recycle all the snack wrappers, and the Gu wrappers as well, leading to a diversion rate of over 99 percent!

We continued the experiment of not using multiple waste stations and went with a single pavilion. And instead of labeled bins, we put out boxes labeled “All Waste” and the Zero Waste team did the sorting. This model worked very well both days. The only bags to sort were from the aid stations, which were taken care of relatively quickly, helped by a reduction from three aid stations on the course to two.

In addition, Trail Marathon Weekend was the first RF Events race to go Zero Waste, back in 2016, so it is also the first event where we have five years of data. The trends show a general reduction not only in landfill waste, but in all waste categories. Some of this is due to going cupless, as well as a general reduction in materials used.

Sustainability report and five-year chart are below.

A Record “Breaking” Event: Super 5K 2020 Sustainability Report

The Super 5K course was a little slick at start time, but we had a good turnout with lots of colorful costumes, and a solid Zero Waste effort. If only we could get the runners to stop fumbling their finisher glasses!

Continue reading “A Record “Breaking” Event: Super 5K 2020 Sustainability Report”

Ho, Ho, Zero! Holiday Hustle Sustainability Report

The final RF Events race of each year is the Holiday Hustle, and over 2,000 runners braved the cold and came out to run a mile or the 5K. And, of course, we couldn’t lower our Zero Waste standards just because it’s a little cold and dark (okay, really dark). Could we improve on 2018’s landfill total of just five pounds? See below!

Continue reading “Ho, Ho, Zero! Holiday Hustle Sustainability Report”

Epic Races A2 Turkey Trot Sustainability Report

It’s turkey time again, and runners are getting an early start on burning off the calories. Hundreds of runners and their families showed up on a chilly morning to run a 5K or 10K, (or even both) and enjoy some pumpkin spice pancakes. And this year’s event was “greener” than ever, with a reduction in overall waste generated and a shift toward more compostable materials. See the details below!

Continue reading “Epic Races A2 Turkey Trot Sustainability Report”

Hot Cocoa Classic 2019 Sustainability Report

What’s better than hot chocolate after a November morning race with a steep climb in it? Hot chocolate with marshmallows and candy canes, of course! And so several hundred people cheerfully ran or walked up and down the Mt. Brighton ski hill.

The challenge for the Zero Waste team is handling a lot of waste in a short window, as the resort opens for general business later in the morning. Could we continue the great results of over 98 percent landfill diversion at this event? Read on to find out!

Continue reading “Hot Cocoa Classic 2019 Sustainability Report”

Strong and Sustainable: Women Run the D Zero Waste Report

The women came to Belle Isle to celebrate their strength and run in the beautiful park. A little bit of inclement weather didn’t dampen their enthusiasm! And the Green Team was there to make sure we left the park cleaner than we found it, with as little as possible going to landfill. After the heat and yellow jacket invasion of last year, did we have the fortitude to get it done? Bee-lieve it!

Continue reading “Strong and Sustainable: Women Run the D Zero Waste Report”

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”

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