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A “Wonder-ful” Event: Canton Liberty Run 2022 Sustainability Report

A perfect day to run the RF Events Liberty run at Heritage Park in Canton. Runners could choose a 5K, or 10K, or both (the Liberty Slam), and enjoy the rest of the Liberty Festival afterward. And Wonder Woman sang the national anthem!

The Zero Waste station was set up near the finish line, where the post race food – bananas, chips, and cookies – were handed out. Total waste was way down from previous years. Part of that was due to lower attendance, but the adjusted total (waste per 100 runners) is trending down as well. Good stuff there.

Continue reading “A “Wonder-ful” Event: Canton Liberty Run 2022 Sustainability Report”

She Runs Grand Rapids Sustainability Report

Here’s a great report from the 2022 She Runs Grand Rapids, produced by Green Team captain Chelsea Brehm. In 2015, this event (known then as the Gazelle Girl) was where I learned what a first-class Zero Waste event was like. Over 3,000 runners, and the landfill didn’t fill a shoe box! That led to me taking the processing back to Ann Arbor, successfully starting a Zero Waste program at many races, and from there to creating Happy Planet Running.

Every year it’s been held since then, I’ve returned as a volunteer as my way of paying back what I’ve learned. And this was one of their best years ever in terms of waste management. Along with increased use of TerraCycle boxes this year, the aid stations used reusable silicone cups from Hiccup Earth instead of disposables.

See below for the results and some great photos. (Chelsea and I are sorting the “rogue trash can” we found on the street leading to the finish line.) Check out her report below!

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“biked” and “zero wasted”! Waterloo G&G Sustainability Report

A beautiful cool spring day, perfect for a gravel road bike race, with beer and hot BBQ afterward. What more could one ask for? How about a bike repair shop that offers house calls? And making the event sustainable, with a 99 percent landfill diversion rate?

Such were the happenings at this year’s Waterloo G&G race in the Portage Lake Recreation Area and nearby roads. This year the race management transitioned from Epic Races to Tris4Health. Many thanks to the new organizers for deciding to keep the event Zero Waste and hiring yours truly to do the job.

Epic Races owner Eva Solomon ready for the 50K. She got to actually enjoy the race this year!
Continue reading ““biked” and “zero wasted”! Waterloo G&G Sustainability Report”

The Flagship Race Rocks On! Trail Marathon Weekend 2022 Sustainability Report

Cupless races rock.

That pretty much sums up the Zero Waste effort at Trail Marathon Weekend this year. A great weekend of running out in nature, and minimizing our environmental footprint. Pretty hard to top that.

Back in 2016, this was the first Zero Waste race RF Events put on, thanks in large part to a grant from the Can’d Aid Foundation, set up mainly for recycling aluminum cans but happy to support a larger goal. That year we processed nearly 500 lbs. of total waste, with only 46 going to landfill – crazy good for a first effort. And it only got better from there. Have a look at the results since then, with big drops in overall waste along with steadily improving landfill diversion from 90 percent to nearly 99 percent.

Continue reading “The Flagship Race Rocks On! Trail Marathon Weekend 2022 Sustainability Report”

Wearin’ O’ the White: Shamrocks & Shenanigans 5K Sustainability Report

Dear St. Patrick: Great job with the snakes and all. Anything you can do about snow?

The Shamrocks & Shenanigans 5K took place on a day where, unofficially at least, spring took over. But that was in the afternoon. Race morning was a final blast of winter fury – cold, windy, and snowing. Still, the show went on, and lots of brave, green-wearing souls showed up to run, so the Zero Waste team was there too. Gotta job ta do, laddies!

Zero Waste volunteer Nick holds down the fort. I need a coat like his!

The Zero Waste station was set up in the parking lot near the finish line. With a pretty fierce wind, I did not set up a pavilion, and my tall sign blew over, so the setup was very minimal. No problem, as the runners easily found us when they had something to toss. We also patrolled the 5K starting line on Main Street. Several runners were holding coffee cups, but made no attempt to give them to us. I think this is the first race where I saw people starting still holding their coffee!

Total waste was way down from 2019, the last time this event was held – 38 lbs. total vs. over 100 the other three years measured. Several things contributed: slightly lower attendance, pint glasses and T-shirts being optional instead of included, and the weather conditions, causing many to leave quickly or head inside to Conor O’Neills. Landfill waste was minimal – just some tape and a few ice cream lids. Like previous years, we gave out ice cream (!) to the kids after their 1K run. Most chose, however, to take it back home rather than eat it there.

By afternoon the sun was out and the snow was gone, leading to several warmer days ahead. Nature will have her little joke.

Easy as 3.14159: Pi Day 5K Sustainability Report

For the first time in several years, Epic Races held their “Pi Day” race in person. (Technically two days early, but hey, it’s running plus pie. Sign me up!) Despite cold temps (13 degrees) and wind, about 200 people showed up at Hudson Mills Park to run the 5K or the kids race.

The race was held at the open-air pavilion instead of the activity center, which was hosting another event. So I did not feel the need to police their trash cans. And most people left right after the race, meaning there wouldn’t have been much to capture.

Post-race food was pancakes and hot chocolate. The finisher pies were individually boxed and most people took them home, which meant less waste at the event.

The biggest source of food waste was from the “Pie Division” runners, who had to eat a pie before they ran the 5K – hands-free, of course. Quite a bit of half-eaten pie was left over. In an inspired move, the contestants were given old T-shirts to wipe their faces with instead of disposables. They could either keep the shirts, or return them to be washed and reused.

Continue reading “Easy as 3.14159: Pi Day 5K Sustainability Report”

Ann Arbor Marathon 2021 Sustainability Report

The Ann Arbor Marathon was back this year, with a good turnout, and the threatened rain politely held off until the afternoon. Good news for runners, and especially the staff: if you think running in the rain for hours is no fun, just try standing around in it. Either way, the Green Team was there to make sure we’d be environmentally friendly!

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One, Two, Three…Scrumpy Skedaddle 2021 Sustainability Report

Back at Almar Orchards for the RF Events Scrumpy Skedaddle, featuring incredible organic hard cider, and a pancake breakfast provided by Chris Cakes of Michigan. And where I either reached a new high in Zero Waste, or a new low. Depends on your point of view.

Here’s a chance to test your estimation skill. How many syrup packets are soaking in this sink? Answer at the end of the report. I’ll give you a hint – there were 600 registered runners, plus another 100 or so spectators eating breakfast there.

You didn’t count them, Jeff. Please tell me you didn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “One, Two, Three…Scrumpy Skedaddle 2021 Sustainability Report”

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!

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