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A Flippin’ Good Time! Scrumpy Skedaddle Sustainability Report

Fall has officially arrived, and it’s peak season at the cider mills. Combine a race with terrific apple cider, pancakes, and live music, and you have a recipe for a very popular event. And so it has proved for the Scrumpy Skedaddle at Almar Orchards. When even the race director (right of stroller) gets into the act with her new baby, you know it’s gotta be good!

Going compostable has reduced overall waste and simplified things for the Zero Waste team, but there’s still plenty of work for them to do. And the very lives of the orchard’s pigs depended on our diligent collection of the leftover food (just ask them). Did we leave the event clean and pigs stuffed? See below!

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In the Deep End: Swim to the Moon 2019 Sustainability Report

The 10th annual Swim to the Moon was, for the athletes, and the charitable camp the race supported, a really good day. It went swimmingly, one might say.

Behind the scenes, things were a bit less serene. A full race field combined with a shortage of volunteers made for a long morning for everyone, including the solo member of the Green Team. In came the waves of waste. Did we get swamped, or climb on top and ride them out? All is revealed below!

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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.

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The Legend 2019 Sustainability Report

Our third cupless event of the year, with over five hundred runners out on the trails on a warm morning. Did anyone lose their heads over it? Not that we could see!

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Swimmingly Smooth: Tri Goddess Tri 2019 Sustainability Report

A beautiful morning, sunshine, happy athletes, and a hardworking Green Team that produced another terrific landfill diversion result. That’s a combination hard to beat!

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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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Don’t Just Toss Those Old Race Clothes!

Look, I get it. I’ve run plenty of wet, sloppy trail races. You expect a mess, so you bring along an old pair of shoes you intend to “retire” immediately after the race. You cross the finish line, change into clean and dry clothes, have a celebratory banana and beer, and then into the trash go the shoes, and your socks too, and maybe even your shirt.

But once they go into the trash, the opportunity to reuse them or donate them to a worthy cause is likely lost forever. Unless the event has a Zero Waste team, and they have time after sorting food waste and recyclables to search though the trash, and they feel so inclined to retrieve the dirty, soaked clothes.

“You mean you really want them?” I heard you asking. Well, actually, yes.

Here’s some friendly, and I hope useful, advice to any runners reading this who wonder how clothes that are wet, muddy, torn, or otherwise rendered undesirable can be salvaged and sent to a better place than a landfill.

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Gazelle Girl Race Achieves 98% Diversion and Saves 2,000 lbs. From Landfill

The Gazelle Girl has done it again! Not only does this annual women’s race get more popular each year, they find new and better ways to make it more environmentally friendly. This was the event (2015) that sparked my involvement in Zero Waste at races, and led to the creation of Happy Planet Running. I was pleased and proud to be a part of it again this year!

Read on to see what was new this year with their waste management and what their vendors are doing to make sustainability a mainstream, everyday practice.

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2017 Ann Arbor Marathon Achieves 96% Landfill Diversion

Date: March 26, 2017
Event company: Epic Races, Ann Arbor MI
Location: Downtown Ann Arbor, MI
# Attendees: 2,500 runners + staff + spectators
Zero Waste Team volunteers: 4

Race Overview

The Ann Arbor Marathon is a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and full marathon that takes place in downtown Ann Arbor and surrounding neighborhoods. Despite a chilly and rainy forecast, a large number of enthusiastic runners showed up and sprinted past Happy Planet Running’s “Ground Zero” sorting station on Main Street about one mile into their various races.

The rain held off until about 10:30, but conditions deteriorated steadily afterwards. By early afternoon, everything and everyone was wet and cold. And the Zero Waste effort was short by two key volunteers. Final cleanup promised to be no fun whatever – but it was a walk on the beach compared to what I found the next day!

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