As one of Cape Town’s most popular road running events, our mission is to bring people together to make communities healthier, happier, stronger and more eco-conscious. While running is one of the most environmentally friendly sports around, an event brings a large amount of people together into a limited space. This comes with unavoidable impacts such as creation of waste which is a major problem in our society.
In line with the event’s central theme ‘It all starts with a bang’, we have introduced our #bangitinthebin campaign to encourage runners to put their sachets in the bin, rather than dump it on the road or in the drains.
We're working on ways to further reduce, reuse and recycle all forms of waste from the organisers’ end. Whatever solution we arrive at regarding the provision of water at road running events, be it:
it all requires us to work as a team and to think before we throw. In fostering positive habits through our event, we aim to create a ripple effect that will not only spread into our everyday lives, but across the community of runners and beyond as we all take one step at a time to reduce our human impact and protect the earth that provides the very ground for us to run on. For tips on how you can make running a cleaner sport, check out Modern Athlete’s #runclean programme.
Here are a few highlights for Gun Run 2016’s improved waste management practices:
We're busy brainstorming more ideas on how to minimise our impact on the planet and maximise our opportunities to benefit the people. Stay tuned!
There is an impetus amongst race organisers to find practical alternatives to plastic sachets. We are currently in the stage of researching and testing out alternatives with an aim to reduce or replace plastic sachets with a more environmentally option in the future.
Cups must be lined with wax to withstand holding water for long periods of time. This prevents standard wax cups from being compostable and ultimately not much better than plastic sachets. Certified compostable cups are the next option. Involving a major increase in costs, it’s fundamental that they are properly disposed of. This requires an industrial composting facility to create the correct moisture and temperature levels for decomposition. Feasibility of this option is being further researched in terms of local composting facilities and funding strategies. It is also important to note, cups are harder to clear up as they are more easily lifted by the wind and risk being blown into the ocean and other sensitive natural areas.
Coca-Cola has been looking at ways they can be greener. One way is to use 100% recyclable (non-wax) cups. Often our tables are set up four hours prior to the runners arriving and the (non-wax) cups tend to 'melt' after standing with liquid in them for long periods. We would like our runners to be able to drink from the cups we hand out rather than getting them all over their chests! Even if we could use these they are four times more expensive than the normal cups and are currently not viable from a business perspective.
Biodegradable sachets cannot be manufactured more than two days before the event as they begin to break down. With an order of over 125 000 sachets, manufacturers cannot produce the volume that the Gun Run needs in time. In addition, the glue holding the plastic together is not as strong causing them to leak from the pressure of the sachets next to them. As law mandates provision of water at race events, we cannot risk not having water for our runners by race day!
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