April is always a great time for us to discuss our sustainability initiatives as we start our race season as we know that we need participants help in order to achieve our goals. With Earth Day around the corner, and climate change part of every day conversation, we are communicating our efforts in hopes of doing our small part. We are constantly seeking out ways to make incremental improvement in how we operate our events in an effort to off-set any environmental impact. We wish to not only leave our race courses “like we found them” but – hopefully slightly better.
This year we have started our new Trees Not Tees program, where you can opt out of a race shirt and instead – we will make a donation on your behalf to plant a tree that you will virtually own. Most people are aware of the benefit of planting a tree, but more importantly – you are doing so much to offset the environmental impact of the shirt – between manufacture, transportation, materials and more. This small switch will provide exponential benefits. Read more about this program here.
The second initiative we wish to highlight is our plogging program in partnership with the Eastern Rhode Island Conservation District. If you are unfamiliar with this effort – plogging is jogging while cleaning up the trash on your route. This year, the ERICD is heading up our post-race efforts to leave the race course in better shape than we started. They will send out volunteers after the race to clean up along our route. Learn more at this link.
This does not mean our runners can just throw trash anywhere 🙂 We will still have our 5 gallon buckets at every mile marker, so we ask that you do your part by hanging on to your trash and disposing it at each mile marker, (perhaps even picking up any trash you might see along the way as well!)
We will continue to offer recycling, source local vendors and manufacturers, and seek out new ways to increase our efforts. With our small staff, we know that we need our runners to help us in these efforts to ensure we all are meeting our goals. We have started to document our current efforts and define what our goals are for the future. But we are always open to ideas, suggestions, partnerships – so feel free to reach out and let us know if you can help.
- Trees Not Tees – we donate the funds we would use to purchase a shirt and donate that to a tree farm.
- Upcycle left over shirts – any shirts left over are donated to a group home and homeless shelter
- Recycle medals to divert waste – Sports Medal Recycling
- Produce some of our swag in USA (Ashworth, JayEl, apparel)
- Provide Hydrapak Speedcups to encourage a cupless race
- Donate proceeds from Speedcups to Save the Bay
- Compostable cups on course
- Converted medal packaging to paper
- Recycling bins available on race day
- Recycle shipping packaging
- Plogging Teams post-race
- Utilize powders and tabs for post-race recovery drink rather than an additional disposable bottle for an electrolyte
- 5 gallon buckets at every mile marker to reduce trash on course.
- Recycle left over bibs
- Encourage Carpool/Shuttles/Bikes as transportation
- Composting/Diverting Waste
- Electric vehicles
- Off Set fees
- Race day Green Team to actively sort through trash
◦ Athletes for a Fit Planet https://afitplanet.com/
◦ Council for Responsible Sport https://www.councilforresponsiblesport.org/
◦ Chicago Marathon https://www.chicagomarathon.com/get-involved/sustainability/
◦ TreesnotTees https://treesnottees.com/
◦ South Pole https://www.southpole.com/
◦ Cloverly https://www.cloverly.com/
◦ Greenhouse Gas Protocol Calculator https://ghgprotocol.org/ghg-emissions-calculation-tool
◦ Calculate your carbon footprint: https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/carbon- footprint-calculator/
◦ US Zip Code Coordinate File https://simplemaps.com/data/us-zips
◦ Greenhouse Gas Protocol https://ghgprotocol.org/