As we start to have some resumption of our pre-2020 activities, we are so excited to get back to races. And while there were many tough parts to this last year under COVID, one that we have struggled with is the vast amount of waste that has been created. Granted the Earth had made some real gains with reduced carbon emissions from less travel, but with single-use menus, elimination of refillable cups, ban of reusable grocery bags, discarded masks just everywhere, and more, our sustainability took a hit with COVID. Granted it was necessary in the beginning to ensure the virus didn’t spread, but as more and more evidence has arisen that this virus is transmitted by respiratory droplets, and not from surface contact, it is time for us to try and resume some of our green efforts.
Our Newport Rhode Race was recently awarded Green Certification from the RI Department of Environmental Management, the first road race to be awarded such an honor. While there are many ways that we can’t fully realize our sustainability goals because of the need to still be safe about COVID, there are a few we do wish to bring back.
We are asking for everyone’s help to “leave the course as we found it.” To that end, we will be putting buckets at every mile marker. Please drop all trash (especially those pesky gel packets) in these buckets and not randomly on the course. We have truly stunning courses here in the Ocean State, and we wish to protect their delicate ecosystem. By having receptacles at every mile, we hope that you can join us in this effort.
Please recycle your finish line bottles in our bright blue designated bins. But more importantly, do not put anything not recyclable in these bins and contaminate the collection. We are asking you to be mindful of the color of each waste container, and only use the recyclable containers for items that are truly recyclable – water bottles and paper being the most common at a race. Gel packets, foodstuff cannot go in these containers.
We also ask that you bring your own hydration in the form of a water belt or hydration vest. This will minimize the number of cups used, as well as water on course. Plus this year, it will help keep everyone safer! While we can’t yet use our awesome Hydropak Speed cups on course, hydration vests are a great alternative in the COVID era.
Please consider joining our post-race plogging crew. We will provide free entries to any runner that runs the course after the race and picks up any race waste that was missed by our Rhode Crew in an effort to be truly sustainable. Read more about this effort here.
We will continue to look for efficiencies, buy local, search for more sustainable methods, and more as we work towards getting back on the Green Team! Thank you for helping us in this effort.