29th of October 2019Events

100,000 cups composted at SMH Half Marathon

The use of foodservice packaging at large scale sporting events can have negative consequences for the environment. Sustainable alternatives to single-use packaging must be sought. The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) Half Marathon is a popular sporting event with large participation numbers, which means there’s an associated impact on the environment that needs to be considered and managed.

On the course, runners require water for hydration and reusable drink containers presented a health risk that would be impractical to manage at this scale.
Single-use plastic or paper cups are traditionally used at ‘hydration stations’, but have significan environmental impacts ranging from how the materials are sourced to the disposal options used at the end of the event.
In 2018, the SMH Half Marathon team took steps to reduce and remove single-use drink cups from landfill. Partnering with BioPak, the SMH Half Marathon team offered compostable paper cups on-course for participants. The cups are made
with paper sourced from managed plantations, lined with IngeoTM – a bioplastic made from plants, not oil – and certified carbon neutral.
Once used, the cups were collected and transported to a local composting facility who composted all the cups. More environmentally conscious from material to disposal, these cups have a smaller environmental footprint than conventional takeaway cups.
Switching to compostable packaging is a simple step that makes a big difference, especially at sporting events where large quantities of food and drink are consumed.
100,000 compostable paper cups were used, collected and composted in one day. 480 kilograms of waste diverted from landfill. 
Not only has the SMH half marathon quit (conventional) plastic, by switching to certified compostable packaging they can move towards a circular economy model where there is no waste.
Compostable packaging and food scraps collected can be recycled the way nature intended:composting. In 8-12 weeks, it will become nutrient-rich soil food that can be and gardens and farms across Australia.