PCS Partners with Glass City Marathon to “Green” the Race

May2We couldn’t have asked for a better day on Sunday, April 24th.  Not only did we have beautiful weather, but we successfully diverted thousands of plastic water bottles and cups, heat sheets, water cups, Gu Packs, and cardboard and pizza boxes from the landfill.

Way back in August, Partners for Clean Streams partnered with Toledo Roadrunners to go green at the 40th Annual Mercy Health Glass City Marathon.  The plan was ever-evolving, and we never stopped learning. Ultimately, what we decided was feasible on race-day was recycling the plastic bottles, cups, heat sheets and cardboard, composting the food waste and pizza boxes, and TerraCycling the water cups and Gu Packs. This was no small task. Our time leading up to race-day was spent preparing signage for the various bins we had, helping train water-stop volunteers, connecting with our community partners and volunteers, and planning the overall layout and schedule for the recycling at the finish line area.

Before we knew it, race-day had arrived. Bright and early at 7:00am, runners gathered at the starting line on Bancroft Street to soon begin their respective races.  Meanwhile, PCS staff and volunteers were busy preparing for their own battle that day – the battle to recycle, compost, and TerraCycle as much of the marathon’s waste as possible. We set up recycling pods in six different areas in Lot 10, for runners to separate their waste into bins designated for landfill, recycling, and compost.  We also had volunteers out on the racecourse helping our cause, sorting and collecting water cups and Gu Packs. Many runners approached our volunteers with much appreciation for what we were doing, and were interested in learning more about PCS.

At the end of the day, we knew we had succeeded by what we didn’t see – the second 30-yard dumpster meant for more of the marathon’s waste was empty! What we did see was even better. The 20-yard compost dumpster was overflowing with pizza boxes and food waste, including plates and napkins, and was successfully delivered to Hirzel Farms in Pemberville, Ohio to be composted. The University of Toledo’s bins for plastics and cardboard were overflowing, and those materials were processed on-site at Plant Operations. Approximately 700-800 pounds of cardboard and 100 pounds of plastic were collected on race day. UT also collected 850 pounds of glass beverage bottles to be recycled. The 22 different water-stops, and their volunteers, helped us collect thousands of wet-wax cups and 20 pounds worth of empty Gu Packs; these were eventually shipped to the TerraCycle facility in New Jersey to be repurposed into new products.  We also collected the heat sheets that runners use to keep warm after the race; this was a part of the Blankets for Boards initiative and they were delivered to Trex Decking and the AFM Heat Sheet Company to be recycled.

All in all, we had a great day doing something that has never been done before at the Mercy Health Glass City Marathon. We are proud to have been a part of this special day for Toledo and are already thinking of ways we can reduce waste even more at next year’s marathon.

We couldn’t have done this without the help of our community partners – Toledo Roadrunners, The University of Toledo, Hirzel Farms, Republic Waste, and TerraCycle – and our volunteers – Zoo Teens, several of our Board Members, volunteers from the University of Toledo and Mercy Health, and all the marathon volunteers in Lot 10 and along the race course.  Thank you to everyone who took this idea and ran with it!

Check out our marathon photo album that documents all that we accomplished on race day! You can also find the link in the newsletter sidebar.