A chilly fall morning, with the promise of fires, live music, food, and beer later on? Sounds like a perfect setup for a trail run. And so it was, with 750 athletes traversing various distances on the DTE Energy Foundation trail system near Chelsea. Naturally, we had to make sure it was all environmentally friendly, and boy did we succeed, getting as close to Zero Waste as about possible.
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.
All right, I’m just going to come out and say it right here.
I failed my first cupless race.
Yes, me. Mister Zero Waste, owner of an event sustainability company and decrier of our current throwaway society. Here I will confess all, so you can learn from my sad experience and avoid similar shame.
Another beautiful day for trail races at Sleepy Hollow State Park, and while the Headless Horseman was nowhere to be seen, there was another terrific Zero Waste result. Continue reading “No Scare Here! The Legend Run 2018 Sustainability Report”
Billed as, “a weekend of peace, love, music, and running,” Run Woodstock is the largest RF Events race of the year. It also generates the most waste of the year, with enough work to keep the Zero Waste team busy from setup on Thursday through takedown on Sunday.
In 2016 we achieved 88% landfill diversion and filled a 40-yard recycling rolloff to the top. How could we improve on that? Read on to see what we did, and if it worked!
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.