Supporting Zero Waste at any running event is challenging. But how about a three-day point-to-point race that crosses an entire state? What would be the greater challenge – running the race, or applying sustainable practices for 150 miles? We were going to find out!
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.
The music was grooving, the weather was cool, and the trails were in top condition. Sounds like a perfect recipe for a weekend of camping and trail running! And so it proved for this year’s Run Woodstock at Hell Creek Ranch.
But with a record number of campers, could the Zero Waste Team stay on top of things all the way from Friday afternoon through Sunday morning? A trashed campground would be most uncool, so it was on us to keep the right vibe. How did we do? Find out below!
This race has it all. Solo ultras, a 100K relay, beer and pizza at the end, … and a long day for the staff, including the Zero Waste team.
The past two years, the rush of people all leaving at once has overwhelmed the Zero Waste team with rapidly filled bags of beer cans and bottles, and towers of discarded pizza boxes. With redesigned waste stations and more signage, could we better handle the rush with only a couple of volunteers?
Dances with Dirt – Hell is an excuse for several thousand people to dress up in wild costumes, run a few miles on trails, get dirty, and then consume a lot of beer. Hundreds of relay teams and a few brave solo ultrarunners carve their way through the Pinckney recreation area – some of it actually intended to be trail, some perhaps not.
Last year the Zero Waste team had a “hell” of a time when the exit rush occurred, getting “swamped” with pizza boxes and beer bottles. We managed a diversion percentage in the 80s but quite a bit of recoverable material ended up in the trash dumpster when we ran out of time to properly sort the recyclables, and out of bins for the food waste. Could we do better this year?
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!