As a community of people who recreate in the outdoors, we all care deeply about conserving the natural spaces around us. We also understand and are knowledgeable about the environmental challenges we face as a global community today. Unfortunately, races tend to create a lot of waste and carbon emissions. Race culture has evolved to offer free shirts that are often thrown out, single use plastics like water bottles and cups, numbered bibs and pins that are only used once, and carbon emissions from participants traveling to and from the race. It’s extremely important to us that all of our races go beyond simply leaving no trace on and around the course. Maine Run & Paddle races accomplish the following three initiatives:
Leave No Trace – This is the easy one. We make sure to "pack in, pack out" everything and leave the spaces we use better than how we found them.
Create Zero Waste – This one is also fairly easy, it just takes a bit more planning. We encourage you to BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) and we place water filling stations at the start/finish area with a designated table for your bottle. In case you forget your bottle, we provide biodegradable paper cups. The post-race food table is stocked with fruits and vegetables whose uneaten parts are easy to turn into compost. There is a bib/pin collection bin at the finish so that we can use them again at our next race. Our T-shirts are made from recycled plastic bottles and participants can opt to buy them when registering, ensuring the tees are actually wanted and that we do not produce extras!
Be Carbon Negative – This one is tricky. It’s hard to calculate the exact amount of carbon and other greenhouse gasses that we emit into the atmosphere during the process, start to finish, of producing our events. In our calculations we try to include everything from the obvious, such as production and shipping of our T-shirts and bibs, to the not so obvious details like charging up our registration and timing equipment. In order to make sure we accomplish being carbon negative we overestimate everything and then plant two native Maine pine trees per race.