Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon to pilot #GOGREEN anti-littering & waste management campaign
The 2017 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon (OMTOM) has officially launched their #GOGREEN campaign – an anti-littering movement, coupled with a waste management plan that offers a sustainable way to collect and process the non-organic waste generated during race week.
#GOGREEN was developed by Wildlands and is supported by Old Mutual, and aims to provide a practical solution for collecting waste from athletes and spectators at endurance events, while educating them about not littering, as well as recycling and upcycling.
Karen Thomas, Old Mutual Head of Brand, says, “One of the most exciting aspects of Old Mutual's sponsorship of events like the Two Oceans Marathon is that it allows us to be innovative and to connect with people in a direct and engaging way. This year, mindful of our responsibility to make the world a better place, we are proud to launch the #GOGREEN campaign, which aligns strongly with our responsible business philosophy.”
Old Mutual is encouraging all runners to throw their waste in the specially made #GOGREEN troughs at THROW ZONES along the route, or to hold onto it until the end of the race.
“We want the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon route to be as clean at race end as it is at race start,” explains Ms Thomas. “If every runner does their bit, we can do great things and make a meaningful difference. Protecting the environment is a wonderful way to run for more than yourself, so let’s go green and ensure that the world's most beautiful marathon remains just that."
A practical waste management solution
The OMTOM is no stranger to controversy when it comes to race week waste. While the event has had a comprehensive clean-up and recycling plan in place for the past number of years – even earning them the honour of being an official Western Cape Government 110% Green Flagship Event – environmental groups and individuals campaigning for various conservation causes have expressed their dissatisfaction with the fact that water sachets, together with race nutrition packets and their torn-off corners, were still being found in various spots along the route.
“We have supported many anti-littering campaigns over the years, and our message has always been clear that athletes are to work with us to reduce or even eliminate littering. And while many runners have become more aware of the issue and make a concerted effort to throw their rubbish in the bins provided, the reality is that a large percentage of athletes continue to litter while on the run,” explains Carol Vosloo, General Manager of the Two Oceans Marathon NPC.
The #GOGREEN campaign will address this challenge by establishing a series of THROW ZONES along the route.
“OMTOM, in collaboration with Wildlands, will activate a number of THROW ZONES along the route – large branded troughs that will act as official throw zones for non-organic waste,” adds Ms Vosloo. “In addition, we are busy aligning our event rules with #GOGREEN by finalising the process that will be followed by ourselves as race organisers when runners are caught littering outside of these THROW ZONES.”
From Waste to Green Desks
In addition to the #GOGREEN campaign and waste management plan, the Two Oceans Marathon will also collaborate with title sponsor Old Mutual, through Wildlands, on a new project of transforming event waste into Green Desks.
It is currently estimated that the waste collected at the OMTOM will contribute to the manufacturing of approximately 500 school desks. The desks have been made possible through a partnership between Wildlands and POLYCO (Polyolefin Recycling Company NPC). POLYCO is a not-for-profit industry body which was established by the polyolefin packaging converters in South Africa in 2011.
To achieve greater diversion of plastics from landfill and meet Governments Industry Waste Management Plan Requirements, POLYCO is involved in supporting the recycling industry by funding collection, recycling, and new end-use growth projects.
“Education is one of the Two Oceans Marathon NPC’s key support pillars, and we are thrilled that those who need it most will ultimately benefit from these desks.”
Dr Andrew Venter, Wildlands CEO, commented, “Wildlands is delighted to be able to launch the #GOGREEN campaign with the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon. It is through our solid partnership with Old Mutual that we were able to bring participants and athletes this innovative concept. We believe this further cements Old Mutual’s commitment to our vision for a ‘Sustainable future for all.”
The OMTOM is the first mass participation event where the #GOGREEN waste management system will feature. It is envisaged that it will be rolled out to other Old Mutual-sponsored events like the Comrades, Om-Die-Dam and Soweto Marathons.