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!
What do you do when you carefully plan Zero Waste for an event – and everything works out according to plan? Shake your head in disbelief, thank the good Lord, and go home on time!
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.
The gnomes were busy at the Pterodactyl Triathlon, as things began to go missing under the noses of the Zero Waste team! Nothing we couldn’t do without, fortunately, and we carried on to another great result.
A great start to this year’s T-Rex Triathlon series. Despite a few hiccups the Zero Waste team kept on top of things and achieved nearly 98 percent landfill diversion!
After we wrapped up the waste collection at the Canton Liberty Run, I brought the tiny bag of landfill waste to show the RF Events staff. It was less than one percent of the total waste we collected. They were impressed as usual – except for one who seemed a bit disappointed. “It isn’t a baggie,” he said.
A similar event the week before DID result in all the trash fitting into a sandwich baggie. Now they want that kind of result every time. Tough group! Read about both events below.
What a difference a year makes! From the freezing rain in 2018 to a cool, sunny day in 2019, conditions were much improved for both the runners and the people working the race.
The Zero Waste team also benefited from the great weather and more experienced help. While last year the sorting had to be cut short and a lot of bags were sent to trash, this year we were able to process all the waste and drop the landfill portion to below ten pounds! Read on to see how we did it, and the few challenges we faced.
A few years ago, I was waiting in line at a Whole Foods coffee bar. A woman asked the barista, “What do you recommend for a Keurig?”
The resulting pause was too long; I couldn’t resist.
“A sledgehammer,” I piped up. (*)
Snarky advice and fantasies aside, I do not encourage the wanton destruction of single-serve machines. However, I have long been disgusted with the amount of waste generated by their disposable capsules. They encase perfectly compostable coffee grounds in a plastic pod. The unit is non-recyclable due to the organic waste inside, and even if cleaned, is too small to be accepted by many recyclers. So they go to a landfill, where the coffee grounds decompose into greenhouse gases, and the plastic just sits there forever.
How many pods are discarded each year? According to the New York Times, in 2015 Keurig alone sold over nine billion single-serve capsules. That’s over 24 million used per day. How many are recycled? Very few.
As a coffee snob myself, I’d be the last person to advise you to give up the habit. (And my fellow runners would laugh in my face.) But I sure as heck would prefer my fellow caffeine addicts indulge in a sustainable manner. Here are some ways to do just that.