At RBC GranFondo Whistler, we are committed to reducing our environmental impact and protecting the beautiful world in which we are fortunate to ride and live. From the previous event, we currently stand at 1.2% off Zero Waste status and are working hard to reach this goal. Our efforts, detailed below, are known as Project Zero Waste.
We work with AWARE, the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment, to help minimize our footprint and create educational pieces that serve to provide actionable steps we can all take, together. We invite you to mindfully join us in this journey.
1. Changes to swag
We have stopped giving out plastic water bottles to all participants as part of the swag bag. We reason that cyclists have enough water bottles as it is, and it is better to use a currently owned bottle (even with another event’s name on it!) than to create more plastic.
2. Cup free event
Rest stops, aid stations and official support will no longer be using or handing out cups for food or hydration. We encourage riders to bring full water bottles to the event, and volunteers will be handing out pre-portioned amounts of food and sustenance using only renewable and compostable resources like recycled paper napkins.
3. Green Pledge
As of 2020, we have asked all riders to take the voluntary Green Pledge when registering for our events. The Green Pledge agreements reads as follows:
In 2020 we’ve launched Project Zero Waste which commits us to promoting sustainable practices and protecting the environment from our impact. We are asking all riders to choose to take a ‘green pledge’ that follows the Leave No Trace principles, meaning committing to disposing of all garbage / recycling / organics in designated bins (no tossing on the road), using refillable bottles and abstaining from peeing outside of washroom facilities, plus anything else that leaves an impact. There is no cost to taking this pledge, but together the potential value to the environment by acting together is significant.
In 2019, 92% of riders agreed to the Green Pledge.
4. Full waste sorting stations
All our waste stations will be colour coded, including recycling, organics, soft plastics and landfill. We ask all riders to contribute to the successful diversion of waste from landfil by putting their waste in the correct bins.
We have changed to using clear plastic bin liners so we can better identify any contaminated bins (ie compostable items in landfill.)
5. Education campaign
Every RBC GranFondo Whistler newsletter ends with an environmental “did you know?” section. This footer section contains tips, advice and lesser known facts that help us take better care of the planet. Think things like ‘be aware disposable coffee cups belong in the blue plastics recycling bin’, ‘soiled food boxes like greasy pizza trays should not go in paper recycling but in the organics bin’, and ‘consider reusing, recycling or reducing your waste in the first place’.
6. Learning from and changing practices
We look at past events and see where we can make improvements. Where excess amounts of inventory were created and not used, we remove from our order list the following year.
This year for instance, we have removed 2L pop bottles from our orders as supply outweighed rider demand, and brought in a vastly reduced amount of pop in recyclable aluminum cans.
7. Zero Waste heroes
AWARE help staff our events with their Zero Waste Heroes. These volunteer rockstars help riders to sort waste into the correct containers, provide guidance, and make sure each bin goes to the right recycling depot after the event.
AWARE produce an in-depth report at the end of each event. The report makes it clear where improvements can be made and hold us accountable for shortcomings. It is our hope, and with your help, that the 2022 event will be our first officially reported Zero Waste RBC GranFondo Whistler.
AWARE is committed to protecting Whistler’s natural environment by speaking up and taking action on environmental issues, while empowering others to do the same
SAFEGUARDING HABITAT, BIODIVERSITY & WILDERNESS VALUES
We work to safeguard habitats and species to maintain connectivity of ecosystems, supporting wildlife and human health.
BUILDING SUSTAINABLE, RESILIENT COMMUNITY
We engage and empower our community to make smart choices, consume mindfully and consider impacts on the environment and the climate.
COLLABORATION AND PARTNERSHIP
We collaborate with other groups because environmental protection is more effective when supported by consensus and when aligned with broader strategies. We approach all our partnerships with integrity, honesty and accountability and seek to partner with local organizations where there are shared values and/or opportunities for efficiency.
COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATION
We develop communications and outreach opportunities as public understanding, engagement and activation, lead to responsible stewardship of our shared natural assets. We create and deliver educational programs because change starts with knowledge.
RESEARCH AND PARTICIPATION
We take part in and coordinate research projects, in order to ensure what we do is based in fact and science. We participate in government and community processes because our natural resources and environment deserve a voice.