Boston Marathon Goes Green

The Boston Marathon supports the environment through its runners, recycling, waste, composting and many other efforts

April 12, 2012

Next Monday, April 16, the city of Boston will host the 116th Boston Marathon. The city comes to a standstill, except for those running, to make way for sports enthusiasts and spectators from far and wide. In addition to promoting a healthy lifestyle through running, training and eating right, the event also supports the environment. Here are just a few ways the race contributes to our planet.

Before the race even begins, communication is highly needed to inform each racer about the actual marathon. Instead of sending a 32-page booklet to thousands of people, electronic communication is widely used, along with mailing two single-pages of information printed with eco-friendly ink on post-consumer paper.

Food and Water
Each year, the Boston Athletic Association hosts a pre-race dinner for about 12,500 participants. Diners eat off of compostable plates and use compostable silverware. When finished they are then asked to dispose of their waste at one of two recovery stations and sort it out themselves. If there are indeed leftovers, the waste is collected for recycling and composting. Poland Spring is the official supplier of water for the marathon and helps spread the message of recycling through its RECYCLE 4 Humanity program. Along the race course, the company also places large, clear bins to encourage marathoners to recycle their water bottles.

Poland Spring supports the Boston Marathon through its RECYCLE 4 Humanity programTransportation
When race day arrives, all runners are asked to arrive at Hopkinton for lineup. Rather than driving themselves, they are shipped via bus. Don’t worry it’s eco-friendly. Not only does it cut down on traffic and exhaust by not having people drive individual cars, but carbon offsets are purchased for the yellow schools buses. For race officials, media and photographers, they ride in hybrid or electric vehicles using natural gas.

Waste and Recycling
At any large event, waste is a huge factor. Well, at the Boston Marathon recycling bins and composting stations are placed at every location possible. Runners and spectators are encouraged to use the recycling stations as much as possible. When it comes to using a restroom, eco-friendly portable toilets are available. You can probably imagine the clean-up after the marathon. Cardboard, paper and plastic are collected and recycled.

Before the runners head off on their 26.2 mile run, they take off layers of clothing in starting corrals. Clothing collection teams gather the discarded shirts, pants, jackets, etc. For those that can be washed and saved, they are then donated to charity. In addition, adidas creates the official Boston Marathon shirts out of soybean-based fabric and resource-efficient design.

For a race that shows off such a healthy sport and fit athletes, it’s great to see the event encourage people to protect and make our environment that much cleaner and safer.

-Allyson Koerner

Photo Credit: Boston Athletic Association
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