So, I’m a big ol’ nerd about the environment. I’ve written before about ways to be a more Earth-friendly runner. “Zero waste” is popular out there, but for many of us it can seem unattainable. I mean, I compost, buy most of my clothes secondhand and shop at the farmers’ market, isn’t that enough?
Sometimes we talk ourselves out of the big goals and then get afraid to set any goals at all, both in running and in life. What’s amazing about being a runner is that we know how to set little goals that help mark our progress toward big goals.
Soon I was discussing minimizing my waste from races with fellow Saltines, and thinking about all the little goals I could set. Pretty soon I was back to dreaming big again. I’m going to aim to be zero waste with my running from June to December 2019.
Let’s back up, shall we? What is zero waste?
The definitions vary depending on who you talk to, but my favorite comes from Kathryn Kellogg of the Going Zero Waste blog: “We aim to send nothing to a landfill. We reduce what we need, reuse as much as we can, send little to be recycled, and compost what we cannot.” It’s really about rethinking how we do everything, because consumerism and convenience are so built into our everyday lives.
How will this work?
The #ecohipster trend is working to fit your trash from one year in a jar, so I’m going to try that; I will be collecting all my running trash in a glass jar. It will serve as a way to track my actions.
Next, I am setting a few ground rules for myself.
- I love the secondhand life, but will draw the line at used socks or sports bras.
- I won’t do anything that compromises my health/nutrition. I know there are DIY running gels, but I have witnessed people bonking from them hard. With marathon training starting and already being a bit of a heat baby, I’m sticking with the commercially made stuff.
- Don’t pawn my trash off on other people to technically not create waste.
- I’m not putting anything overly disgusting in the jar. It’s a visual diary and learning tool, not a science experiment. (I’ll still tell you about the gross stuff, though.)
So, here we go!
As of this writing, I have a 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon planned for the remainder of the year… plus all the training that goes with those! I’ll check in every so often to show you the jar and let you know what’s in it and what I’ve learned from my trials and errors.
Any suggestions as I get started?