Sustainability embedded at Eugene's TrackTown USA
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
The Olympic Trials at Tracktown12 will begin at Eugene's historic Hayward Field Thursday. The event aims to be North America's most sustainable.
When the first runners leave the starting blocks at the 2012 Olympic Trials starting Thursday in Eugene, they'll be racing in an event that is aiming to be among the world's greenest.
"The footprints of events like these are massive. It can get really ugly in terms of a sustainability story if there isn't some vigilance applied to it," said Joe Kaleel, creative director at SportsOne.
Beaverton-based SportsOne, a sports and events marketing company, is running the fan festival at TrackTown12, partnering with the local organizing committee which includes Oregon Track Club, University of Oregon, Nike and the city of Eugene, among others.
Building on experience from 2008, the first year that the trials were hosted at historic Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus, the organizing committee is furthering their commitment to putting on a green event, looking at everything from waste diversion to food sourcing to community involvement.
The stated goal? Oh, just to be the most sustainable event to be presented in North America this year.
The basic tenants of sustainability being tracked by the organizers include:
• Pushing ever closer to the zero waste goal. In 2008, TrackTown hit a landfill diversion rate of about 68 percent of all waste generated at the trials. In 2012, the aim is for 75 percent. To get there, organizers purchased pre-approved compostable service items to be sold to food vendors.
• Overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Event organizers purchased green power through the local utility, EWEB. Olympic event partner BP plc, will purchase offsets to cover all the travel emissions for the athletes traveling to the trials and for the shuttle busses that will ferry fans from nearby parking lots. Ethan Nelson, who runs waste reduction and green building programs for the city of Eugene and served on the organizing committee, said an estimated 80 percent of fans and visitors to the event will walk, bike or take public transportation to get there.
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