In recent years we have all become more aware of the high volume of natural resources that go to waste in our daily lives and in many respects the same can be said of waste within race events.
One of the first items to come under BTR scrutiny was single use plastic and in the three years since BTR stopped using plastic Goody Bags at events we have reduced use by around 60,000 bags that would have otherwise have been used.
That was a great first step which was also applied to medal provision. In case you were not aware medals are transported in small plastic bags to protect from damage in transit. Having looked at the waste issue with Running Imp who provide the event medals they arranged for the medals to be wrapped in paper which can be recycle more easily.
At events themselves we have introduced a system which allows for a 330ml bottle to be split with the amount going into a paper cup and half being left in the bottle.
By taking half the amount at each water station we are reducing water consumption by half and reducing the number of plastic bottles we use each year - which runs into tens of thousands.
As most runners will appreciate it is often difficult to consume 330ml of water on the run and more often than not more content is thrown away rather than being consumed.
By splitting the bottle the consumption and waste are both significantly reduced.
For anyone wanting a full bottle there is always a third table with the full amount.
Another interesting change recently introduced at the Wirral Half Marathon was the blocking of the drainage gaps in the sea wall while the race is in progress. Many of the bottles taken at water stations are casually discarded and subsequently collected for disposal by the volunteer team who manage the stations.
However, in windy conditions it is not always possible to remove them immediately and it was noted that some bottles were getting blown into the river through the gaps in the sea wall. So the solution was to just block the holes while the race was on. That way it became possible to stop any bottles entering the water system and causing future damage.
This isn't specifically a waste issue but it is preventing damage caused by plastic by introducing a simple preventative measure.
Another big area of waste is the runner reward package... t shirts and medals.
After every race there are always t shirts and medals left over and it has historically been difficult to find a practical use for them other than giving t shirts to charity outlets... and the medals, well, they just get stockpiled and then sent to landfill.
So BTR introduced the Medal Muddle 5K events which so far has managed to find a home for about 500 medals and t shirts before the global pandemic intervened.
There is a section on the BTR Medal Muddle events and you can read about the positive impact this concept has made and how local charities have benefited (HERE)
In other areas of natural event waste all post race litter is managed by Gaskells Waste Management and is professionally sorted and recycled wherever possible. At the end of each year BTR is presented with a review of how much waste is created and how it is treated.
It goes without saying that in all aspects of our daily lives we all need to be more mindful of the waste we create and the impact it potentially has on the planet and our natural resources.
BTR will continue to look for creative and innovative ways to minimise the waste that events create and seek to be ever more resourceful wherever we can.
BTR Liverpool Limited