Spokane, WA—After months of planning, Bloomsday officials have finalized plans to compost as many as half a million cups that are typically discarded along the course. If successful, that composting would put a big dent in the nearly 10 tons of trash that are typically generated during the run each year.
“Since announcing our “Getting Greener” initiative in February, we’ve worked with Spokane City officials and Waste Management representatives to do something that as far as we know no other large running event has been able to do, compost hundreds of thousands of water cups,” said Bloomsday Board Member Steve Jones, who is spearheading Bloomsday’s green initiative. “That’s the biggest and most visible part of our effort this year to reduce, reuse and recycle.”
Along with the composting of water cups, Bloomsday’s “Getting Greener” initiative has included:
- Printing entry forms on post-consumer recycled paper using vegetable-based ink, and reducing the print run by 25%
- Printing promotional posters on paper that is made from at least 30% post-consumer waste
- Promoting increased use of public transportation and bike riding to and from Bloomsday
- Offering eco-friendly Bloomsday souvenir gear
- Encouraging plastic “goodie bag” recycling at Safeway stores.
- Encouraging recycling of plastic and aluminum bottles at recycling stations in Riverfront Park after the run.
While all parts of the “Getting Greener” initiative are important, it’s the composting of cups that Bloomsday organizers have devoted the most attention to. Earlier this spring the ability to compost the cups was in question, but thanks to the cooperation and hard work of folks with the City of Spokane, Waste Management and Royal Organic Products, Bloomsday has been able to develop a “test” program to keep the cups out of the waste stream. If successful, Bloomsday cups will eventually end up in gardens throughout the Inland Northwest.
“These efforts may be quite timely,” said Jones, “given the fact that we have an increase of about 3,000 entrants this year.”
While the “Getting Greener” initiative is a new emphasis for Bloomsday, it builds upon environmental successes the event has enjoyed for many years. In past years over 70% of participants have taken advantage of online registration, 25% have traveled to and from the start via STA Shuttles and hundreds of cyclists have taken advantage of the Spokane Bicycle Club’s Bike Corral. “Getting Greener” is a way to expand on these successes, and the initiative will remain in Bloomsday organizers’ focus for years to come.
For those who haven’t already signup up for this year’s Lilac Bloomsday Run, late registration will be available for $30.00 at the Convention Center on Friday and Saturday of Bloomsday weekend.
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