April = Earth Month and Newport Rhode Races. Racing towards Carbon Neutral.

It always resonates with us that April is not just Earth Month but also our first race of the season. We have spent the off-season working on our sustainability goals for this race season and with Newport being our first race of the year and in April – it all just seems to go hand in hand. Each year we try to make incremental improvements in our carbon footprint and this year we have some great changes.

We are continuing past efforts that have been documented in past posts, (Here, Here and Here) but this year we have upped the ante in a few spots. Firstly, we needed an additional power source for our registration tent so rather than invest in another gas generator, we have purchased a PowerPack with solar panel to power our iPads, iPods, etc.

Secondly, after rightly being called out after last year’s Newport race about our zip tie usage, it did cause us to explore more sustainable options. Honestly, zip ties were one thing that we rely on but never really thought about their environmental impact as they were just such a part of our event needs. I know an event management company that is even called Ziptie Productions! But we did some research, sourced our race director community and found some good alternatives. We found ball bungees work amazing for our finish line mesh and grommet signs, and we have some wire tires for other uses. We are pretty excited with these.

We have stepped up our partnership with Eastern RI Conservation District who have become charitable partners of the race. They are also coordinating our plogging efforts – which are amazing this year. Last year they collected not only race trash, but the majority of their collection was NON-RACE trash (nip bottles, beer cans, etc). We definitely left Newport in better shape than we found it in this case!

Finally, this year we are working with Epic Renewal who will be managing all of our waste collection at the race festival and aid stations. They will be properly sorting waste into recyclable, compostable and landfill. We have worked with them in the off-season on communication and operations for this event and we can’t wait to work towards that Zero Waste event.

We still have more work to do on our sustainability goals – hopefully next year we will have an EV truck – and we are always looking for big and small ways we can improve. If you have any suggestions, as always, we want to hear them! Thank you for working with us in improving our carbon footprint!

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