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Living on Less

The Wasteful Side of the Vancouver Sun Run


Around 50,000 did the Vancouver Sun Run this year. Including me.

This of course was last month but due to technical difficulties (mine) I am just now posting some of the pictures we took that day. I should have written this right after my Ipod playlist but hey it’s never too late!

I expected to see many things during the run. The volume of waste was surprising though.

There is a tradition of people buying thrift store jackets, wearing them in the line-up and then throwing them on the ground when they start the run. Some of the jackets get tossed into Salvation Army drop off spots.

Other jackets get tossed wherever. I watched two volunteers cleaning up some paper cups and bananas. There was a jacket on the ground too. The one said to the other one “Well I don’t want it, so…” as he shoveled all of into a black garbage bag.

The amount of paper cups was crazy. All of the discarded waste including bagels and bananas were shoveled into black garbage bags. It was rare to see anyone with their own bottle.

I was really glad that I bought a running belt with a water bottle. It was convenient to have water whenever I wanted. When I needed to refill I did so directly from the water jugs. None of these paper cups were mine.

Or these…

Or these…

Then at the end of the race I started seeing all the volunteers dumping each individual paper cups water, all the jugs, all the water on the ground.

I guess they over estimated.

The garbage just was endless.

Next time I do the Sun Run I will bring my water bottle again. I will also bring a thrift store jacket and toss it in the Salvation Army bin. I plan to bring some sort of snack with me too. It is a long wait at the starting line.

In my dreams I hope someone went through the thousands of garbage bags and separated the compostables, recyclables etc.. but the black garbage bags seem to tell the real story.

How many paper cups could have been saved if even 1 out of 5 runners carried their own bottle? About 60,000 by my calculations. My guess was each runner, without a bottle, drank from at least 6 paper cups during the race. What if almost everyone had their own bottle and the paper cup drinkers would have seemed like the odd-man out?

Hmm.

~Stephanie

“I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!” – Dr. Seuss

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About stephanieough

Wife, mom, concerned citizen of the earth. Striving towards intentional living rather than blindly following. Former Education Specialist for a corporation, I have now taken a step back to spend time with my family and work closer to home. Hoping to reduce our waste through refusing, reducing and reusing so that we will not have to recycle as much. Also, I love to explore zero-waste fast food and take pictures of my sucesses. I'm a fan of British comedies like Red Dwarf and Black Adder, Kevin Smith and his movies, Asian food, documentaries, biographies and going to Las Vegas on vacation. If someone told me I could only listen to the Beatles for the rest of my life I would die happy.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “The Wasteful Side of the Vancouver Sun Run

  1. Our town has a mini triathlon each year and the waste is bad in my opinion, but I’ve never seen waste like what you did. We don’t have the garbage strewn all over the streets. People in town love watching the event and come out with tables filled with drinks and some snack, in addition to the stops set up by the event sponsors. The participants toss the garbage at each stop. In addition most participants carry their own bottles on their bikes so at that point spectators will just offer to refill the bottles if needed.

    It’s such a shame that an event which in itself is such a good thing for our health can be so bad for the planet.

    Posted by livingsimplyfree | May 10, 2012, 9:26 am
    • It was crazy! I walked over hundreds of squished paper cups during the run. It’s great that at your towns mini-triathlon most people had their own bottles. If the Sun Run could have compost and recycling bins that would help too.

      Posted by stephanieough | May 10, 2012, 12:12 pm
  2. Although I do not do fun runs, I understand what you mean.

    I find just seeing all this waste and seemingly total unawareness/disinterest by so many quite depressing. It also makes me wonder why I am doing what I do but then I usually bounce back the next day.

    I have taking my own bags, refusing department store carriers, re-using what I can and recycling/composting for well over 20 years and some days I feel as though I am still a lone voice.

    Posted by Fairy | May 12, 2012, 1:29 am

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