For those who have followed my blog for a while, you probably have noticed my fondness for writing about running for trash (Will Run 4 Trash Part I and II). I promise, I do think about other things, but I had to write about it at least one more time. This story was too good to not share.
While most people know Atayne as a brand of environmentally friendly performance apparel, that is only a tiny part of the story. Our company exists to inspire positive environmental and social change through the power of sports and active lifestyles. One way we do this is by developing high performance products that are sensitive on the environment and safe for the people who use and make them. But what about the other things we do?
Today, I want to talk about how we are helping races and events clean up their act. Not that they are intentionally trying to destroy the environment, but the current model of how they are run often leaves a heavy footprint. Consider road races. When you think about all the cups, energy gel packs, plastic bottles, and cardboard boxes, the amount of waste from even small events can pile up. Where does all of this go? Most of the time, it ends up in a landfill. And then there is the less visible waste: the packaging for all that stuff and the emissions from all the travel to and from the events.
I am not advocating that we should stop these events. They are an important part of encouraging active lifestyles and fostering community. What I am advocating is that we need to change the current model. And here is the story of just one little step we are taking to play our part.
After our pilot race sweeping of the Urban Epic, we decided to take on a bigger challenge. On October 5th, the good people of Maine and the Maine Marathon greeted us with open arms as we worked together to keep as much recyclable material as possible out of their landfills. Over 30 Team Atayne volunteers (including my 80 year old grandmother Mammie) came together to help leave the course cleaner than the race found it. Our runners ran the course behind the 3,000 race participants picking up trash, while our aid station and start/finish line volunteers sorted recyclables from non-recyclables. The results speak for themselves:
- Over 80 bags (30 gallons each) of paper cups were recycled
- A trailer full of cardboard was recycled
- Nearly 4,000 plastic bottles and jugs were submitted for redemption and recycling. This helped raise another $100 for the race charity, the Center for Grieving Children, and saved the energy equivalent of lighting a 60-watt bulb continuously for 2 years and 8 months!
Not only was this good for the environment and the community, it was good for the race. The event needed to order one less dumpster, which saved them money. Yep, the proof is in the pudding: going green saves green!
Here’s my challenge to you. Step outside of your “daily” model (or routine) and think about little steps you can take to create positive change. Even the smallest steps move us forward on a long journey. Have fun and be creative. As Dr Seuss taught us when we were young, “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”
And who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? All 30 volunteers reported having a great time! For a more light hearted recap, check out Mike’s latest entry on his Polka Dot Shorts Blog.
Also check out Paige’s and Stephen’s recaps. Paige ran with Team Atayne instead of running the half-marathon as previously planned. Stephen ran the Maine Marathon, qualifying for Boston, and then helped to volunteer with Team Atayne.