Earlier this month we got a call from a fellow non-profit called Sustainable Surf in regards to assisting at the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and after speaking with them and Vans, we were invited to be incorporated officially into the Triple Crown. Our duties would be to build 5 trash diversion stations, keep them running smoothly, and man our tent to educate the public about what we do and how we do it. When it came time to start our work, it was apparent that the trash diversion side of our scope was very important, but our tent housing our educational booth was not allowed due to permitting issues. That being said we marched ahead knowing that if we do a good job during these events we could be invited back, incorporated early into next years plans, be part of the permit and have a proper tent/booth where we can really educate spectators and competitors alike. So far our work has been extremely gratifying as instead of being under our tent between diversion station checks, we have been allowed to hang out in the VIP bleachers!
CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO – Some good surfing and Antje Martin representing us on TV!
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing has been certified a Deep Blue Event, a categorization meaning that the event has touched on multiple facets reducing impact on the environment by reducing carbon and waste, while increasing community involvement and support.
On our end our part in this certification was the waste reduction and community support. For trash diversion, the goal is to try to divert 40% of debris from landfill/H-power to compost and HI-5 Recyclables. Difficulty in this goal is the fact that Hawaii does NOT have a commercial composter that can take the compostable products like the food plates/clamshells, napkins, and other compostable products. What we can do is divert all the food that is scraped off of plates. The other part that is easily diverted is the HI-5 Recyclables like cans and bottles.
Freddy P, 2nd Place at Haleiwa. Local boy holding it down with us cheering him on to win the whole tri-fecta.
What we are trying to show event planners is that waste reduction starts with what is supplied and provided to spectators, staff, and competitors. By providing reusable products or more sustainable products, you can drastically reduce waste. It’s going to be really good to have a baseline this year from the contest and then work towards reducing these numbers next year. As we continue to work the Triple Crown and learn as we go, we see great promise for 2014. That being said, we are doing a great job already. Very few HI-5 items are getting missed due to the diligence of local community members and our team. The food is a little tougher but we are still collecting enough to feed a very hungry and thriving compost pit.
Many people also need to understand that nearly 90% of all our trash created on the island of Oahu goes to H-Power (click here for more info) which is a trash burning plant that converts the heat to energy. They produce nearly 10% of the islands energy. Although this is a great way to reduce landfill fodder, it also loosely encourages consumption as H-Power needs feed stock to keep running. They would be fine taking all of our plastic bottles that would have been recycled since plastic is made of oil and burns extremely well creating more energy by weight then other items. We can talk more about the detriments of Hawaii’s recycling program in another post.
It’s been great to see other things that VANS and Triple Crown Staff are doing to reduce waste like water coolers all around the contest site allowing you to refill your reusable water bottles, the use of bio-diesel, community involvement, and compostable products. We commend them in their path towards a more sustainable future, we thank them for involving our organization, we congratulate them on their Deep Blue certification, and we INVITE ALL OF YOU TO COME DOWN AND JOIN US!
When you come down to the Vans Triple Crown be sure to bring your reusable water bottles, reusable utensils, and whatever else you can to reduce the waste. Think about carpooling, walking, or biking too. It’s all of our efforts that collectively make a huge difference and through leading by example we can inspire others to follow.
We’d like to thank Vans, Triple Crown Staff, Sustainable Surf, Reef, Billabong, Tre3′s, and the community for inviting us to help and supporting our cause. It is our hope that by increasing our non-profits brand awareness we can increase participation in our cleanup events.