Thursday, September 8, 2011

Relay for Life- Greenest Team Contest

As you may have been able to tell by reading my blog, I am passionate about recycling. When my husband and I formed a Relay for Life team to raise money for the American Caner Society 5 years ago, I noticed the lack of recycling at the event. This made me want to do something about it, so I asked if I could be part of their recycling committee the following year. Of course I assumed there was such a committee, but learned that I created a new position. Now 4 years later, I am still the chair and only member of the recycling committee.

For the past two years, I have hosted a "Greenest Team Contest" awarded to the team that makes the best sustainable choices leading up to the Relay for Life during their team meetings and fundraising events as well as at the event itself. At the monthly team captain meetings, I do be best to remind the teams of our sustainable focus and give tips on how to be more green at meetings and events such as; email agendas, print on both sides of the paper, shop locally, bring your own water bottle and coffee mugs to the event, etc. The prize package the team wins includes local currency called Riverhours, gift certificate to an organic farm at the local farmers market, ChicoBags, reusable sandwich wraps and bags, windsurf sail bags, home composting system, Fair Trade chocolate, Direct Trade coffee from a local coffee shop, as well as anything else I can find to support our local businesses and promote sustainability.

All our work has been paying off! Have you ever talked in front of a group of people and wondered if anyone was actually listening? At all of the team captain meetings I went to, I kind of felt this way. I was getting a little discouraged going into the event this year wondering if all of my efforts would be for nothing. I had made note of how much waste we generated the year before to compare and chart our progress. We borrowed 10 Clearstream containers from Tri-County Hazardous Waste and Recycling to collect cans and bottles. I also set up a compost station at our lunch site. Finally, I arranged for the Survivor Lunch to use reusable plates, cups and silverware from a grant I received from Tri-County Hazardous Waste and Recycling. Throughout the day, as teams had the job of emptying the trash cans, I has people coming up to me to let me know that the cans weren't anywhere near full, therefore they could not empty the trash! Yay!!! It worked! Teams were making an effort to think about their waste and make better choices than bring and throw away disposable goods. At the end of the event, all of the cans were given to a team whose mission is to collect money from the bottle deposit to donate to the American Cancer Society.

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