Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Since the beginning of Go Beyond Racing in 2013, we’ve taken recycling and reducing the environmental impact of our events seriously. We’ve tried a lot of different things over the years to be the best we could at this, including using compostable products, eliminating packaging, paying for carbon offsets on the shipping, using reusable dishes at aid stations and start/finishes, etc. The recycling world is changing and what was once considered a best practice is no longer the right choice, and in some cases, not even available.
Figuring Recycling Out, Again
This off-season, we spent quite a bit of time researching the origin of products that are used and consumed at our events, to take a broader look at their impact on the environment. For example, considering the energy and resources that go into manufacturing something, as well as getting it to the place where we’d purchase it, and then getting it to our front door. Then we’d consider what happens to it after it is used and how and where it may get reused or end up in a landfill somewhere. We met with recycling companies and local government agencies to learn as much as we could.
How We Will Recycle
Here’s what we’ve learned and how we’ll be operating going forward, until something else changes in the recycling world (some of this may surprise you!):
- Compostable products are out. The facility that used to take the compostable silverware and dishes we used the last few years doesn’t accept them anymore; they just end up in the landfill. We will continue to use up our supply of compostable items, since they are made from a renewable resource (sugarcane). When they are gone, we’ll determine what is the best items to use at that point.
- Red solo cups. We don’t use many plastic cups, but do have them for those who want a beer, cider, soda, etc. after a race and don’t have a finisher’s glass. The clear compostable cups we previously used aren’t getting composted any longer. You may have seen our social media posts about Agilyx, the company that has a chemical recycling process to turn #6 plastics back into the base element that is then used to make something new. We will have these red plastic cups at the finish area, that will get recycled back into plastic cups and other items or maybe even get used to create jet fuel!
- Real silverware. When we can, we will provide real silverware that will we wash and reuse. We are building up our collection, so if you have an extra set of forks and spoons lying around, we’ll take them off your hands.
- Bring your own. We will encourage all participants to bring their own dishes from home for the post-race food. We know this isn’t always possible or practical, but if you can do it, we’d greatly appreciate it. This is an excellent way to reduce waste!
- Terracycle recycle point. We are an official Terracycle disposal site. The GU gel and bar wrappers we collect at the aid stations and finish line are sent in to be recycled. You are welcome to start saving yours at home and drop them off at our races too!
- Compost food scraps. We will keep doing this. After every race, we dig through all the garbage bags and pull out the food scraps and send them to our local composting facility to be turned into dirt. We learned that this one of the most important things that we (and you at home) could do to reduce methane gas emissions from landfills. We also separate the recyclable items too.
- Nike Trail coffee cups. You know we serve coffee to runners and volunteers race mornings and Nike Trail supplies cups that we use over and over again (please don’t take one with you as a souvenir). We are thrilled that Nike is continuing to partner with us on this. Enjoy your morning coffee and leave the cup in the designated bin and we’ll wash and reuse it at the next race.
- Cupless aid stations. Go Beyond Racing went cupless in 2016. That means we do not have paper or plastic single-use cups for water, electrolyte drink, or soda at our aid stations. You’d be surprised at how much waste this has eliminated.
- Others’ waste. The screen printer we work with is also concerned about the environment. We recycle plastic bags and plastic film (think bread bags, ice bags, etc.) and are now taking the printer’s plastic to a recycling point for them.
Carpool Coasters Continue
We are also continuing our Carpool Coaster program to encourage runners to share a ride to a race. This earns you a wooden coaster with the race logo, and reduces at least one vehicle on the road. These coasters are useful and great souvenirs, and carpooling is easy and more fun. Thank you to Rodda Paint for continuing to sponsor this program.
What You Can Do
Recycling can be overwhelming, confusing and frustrating. But it is important, and something we all need to do to the best of our abilities. We offered some tips above, but encourage you to look into your local recycling guidelines – call your garbage service, go to their website, and then share what you’ve learned with your neighbors and friends. The rules are changing and different everywhere, and technology is improving so what you used to do with your garbage and waste could be different now.
You can also help at our races by placing your recycling, compost, and garbage into the correct containers. We have several labeled cans and bins at the start/finish areas and some at the aid stations too. Thanks for taking the time to help reduce, recycle, and reuse.
If you have suggestions or tips for ways we could improve, please let us know!