We care about the impact we have on the environment and the Lake District - after all, it's where we live and it's our playground too. We want to avoid 'greenwashing' just to pay lip service to environmental causes so we're making sure that everything we do is fully thought through to ensure the solution achieves the desired benefits.
This may mean initiatives take a bit longer to implement as we take an incremental approach to them, but it should result in a greater impact. For example, planting trees for the sake of it can lead to minimal gains in biodiversity and sometimes only offer a short-term solution if the trees are felled at a young age, so we carefully researched options before deciding how best to offer our Tees for Trees initiative.
Our Tees for Trees initiative (more information below) will mean that we will be ordering fewer t-shirts but inevitably we will have some left over at the end of the events. These t-shirts are put to good use by CRCL, a charity based in west Cumbria which promotes cultural awareness by arranging exchange trips for children from Tanzania. When trips to Africa take place, the t-shirts are shipped across with the visitors to be used as team kits for the children playing sport.
Nobody likes to see litter on the trails and there's rarely any left by our runners. Despite that, we send a Sweeper around at the back of the course to collect race signage, check gates have been shut and to check for any stray items of rubbish.
We are delighted to be able to start giving our runners the option of forgoing an event t-shirt in exchange for planting 'a tree'. We've joined up with the Ullswater Catchment Management CIC and all proceeds will go towards small-scale projects in and around Ullswater to mitigate flooding and increase biodiversity. The area has suffered from flooding recently and was particularly hard-hit by Storm Desmond in 2015. Our Ultra and Dirty Double events either run through or in the valley (and the Dirty Double is based in Glenridding on the shores of Ullswater) so it means that supporters of the initiative will be able to see the benefits first hand as they run on the trails. More details will be available soon.
We have phased out single-use plastic cups and are now using compostable PLA ones, made from corn starch. Whilst they use significantly less energy to produce and aren't oil-based, they still have a CO2 footprint so we will also be actively encouraging runners to use their own re-useable containers and removing single-use cups from our Event Village.
We recycle all of the cardboard generated by our events and invest in products which will be higher quality and last longer to reduce their impact. This year we will also change the way we display the information on our course information signs so they can be re-used.
All race route and event signage is re-used at following events. Marshal information is laminated so that it can be re-used in future years too.