Pictured: Plastic being recycled from the 5k and 8k Saturday race; we had twice the amount of plastic on Sunday.
By Christina Anderson, Marine Biology with Sustainability minor ’13
My first day working the Melbourne Music Marathon was at the Expo at the Crowne Plaza located on A1A. There was a variety of business vendors that focused on organic foods, the race, future races, and registration. The registration process was changed this year by excluding the use of manila envelopes. This not only saved Smooth Running Inc. $300, but was also a sustainable action that helped reduce the use of paper products. To further cut down on paper use, the race used electronic goody bags. This reduced waste and allowed runners to choose the coupons they wanted.
We also encouraged recycling of used paper produces in the recycling bins of the Crowne Plaza. Furthermore, I talked to a variety of businesses about attending the Botanical Fest on March 3rd . At this point, I realized I need business cards really badly.
The next day I woke up at 6AM and headed downtown to set up the finish line for the 5k and 8k. My goal was to set up recycling bins by vendors that would have a lot of packaging needing disposal. Some of the main vendors included Mix1, Natalie’s Orange Juice, and McDonald’s. We also set up recycling bins near the end of the race so runners could dispose of their water bottles. Along with the recycling, we had also promoted composting. Composting bins were placed by the Publix vendor serving fruit and oranges and by the food area where runners were being served pizza, pancakes, and sausage.
We noticed that a lot of people were recycling in the right trashcans; however, we saw a lot of plastic in the composting bins, even though they were clearly marked for composting. We decided this was because we were using recycling cans for the composting. The second day, we used gray cans for the compost cans and it turned out there was a lot less confusion and a lot less plastic in the bins. Overall the project was a success. I was able to help make the event more sustainable and I was also able to get the word out for sustainability.