Earth Day is Coming Up. Which Event Owners Are Helping the Planet? | Sports Destination Management

Earth Day is Coming Up. Which Event Owners Are Helping the Planet?

Apr 07, 2022 | By: Mary Helen Sprecher
Plogging, the practice of picking up litter while running, can be incorporated into local 5Ks and other events. © David Pereiras Villagra |

Green is the new…well, green – as in eco-friendly. And with Earth Day less than two weeks away, it’s obvious the sports industry is getting into the spirit with cleanups and other activities. Here’s a roundup:

Earth Day-Themed Events: Look at the calendar of foot races published in Running In The USA and in the weekend leading up to Earth Day – and the weekend directly after it – you’ll see plenty of themed events. Multiple cities (Springfield, Missouri; Minneapolis; Oracle, Arizona; Clear Lake, Iowa and plenty of others) have the Earth Day 5K. Then, of course, there are plenty of others; Glendive, Montana has Anton’s Recycling Run, for example.

Cleanup/Improvement Efforts at Sport Fisheries: B.A.S.S. hosts three separate cleanups this spring. The events, which are held in the fisheries of Dayton, Tennessee; Counce, Tennessee, and La Crosse, Wisconsin, come with an extra incentive for volunteers: Gift packages from AFTCO and Yamaha Rightwaters. Plus, registered volunteer organizations participating in the Lake Clean-Up Challenges will be eligible for conservation grants from AFTCO and Yamaha Rightwaters. The brands will select the conservations grants — totaling over $25,000 for 2022 — based on their participation in the Lake Clean-Up Challenges and the group’s overall conservation or public service mission.

Bass organizations aren't the only eco-conscious groups; Trout Unlimited has established the Plant for Our Future campaign, to plant trees along river banks (the technical term is riparian buffer) to block sediment, prevent erosion and filter polluted stormwater runoff. Those who follow the link can join an existing planting, or plan one of their own.

Major League Fishing has a section on its website for its Fisheries Management Division. Its most recent post, MLF noted that at the  REDCREST Sports Outdoors Expo Presented by Costa, the Major League Fishing newly formed Fisheries Management Division was announced; it has already completed the industry’s first live habitat build. MLF officials noted that conservation was the cornerstone to the future of the sport and the industry it supports.

Sustainable Sports Surfaces: Nike has been growing its Nike Grind ® brand, in which manufacturing scrap, unused manufacturing materials and end-of-life footwear, including rubber, foam, fiber, leather and textiles, are collected, separated and reused or processed into new Nike Grind materials. Materials are used in a variety of ways, including as running track surfacing, infill for synthetic fields, indoor and outdoor court surfacing and playground surfacing.

Eco-Friendly Tourism: Cities have been developing campaigns to promote the outdoors – and to help visitors investigate them responsibly. Explore Minnesota, for example, has a whole landing page devoted to eco-friendly visits and vacations, including camping, biking, canoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing and birding.

Sustainable Tailgates: Nationwide, colleges have been challenging one another to lower-waste tailgates, with a goal of diverting at least 90 percent of game day trash away from landfills by recycling and composting.

The Running Industry Goes Green: Running Insights Magazine offered a special “green” issue with all articles focusing on putting on sustainable sports events.

Conference on Sustainability: Greenloop is a virtual conference, examining the ways the attractions and tourism industry can propel the mission of helping the environment.

Remilling Hotel Soap Scraps: Clean The World is a company that works with hotel partners to collect and mill soap scraps left behind by guests. The new bars of soap are sent to areas where health and hygiene conditions are poor. The organization also works to generate donations to help provide soap to areas hit by war, disease and famine. (Another trend in hotel soap use is refillable dispensers of body wash, shampoo, conditioner and skin lotion, replacing the sample-size cosmetics that generated plastic waste and were largely unrecyclable). 

Sustainable Jet Fuel: Perhaps it’s not sports related, per se, but it will impact travel down the line. In late March, The first Airbus A380 ever produced took off on a flight powered by 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel, or SAF. According to The Points Guy, SAF is a type of biofuel that relies heavily on organic materials. The first flight took place in France, but things are changing in the U.S. too. Boeing has also invested in SAF, purchasing 2 million gallons of the organic fuel last month to power its commercial aircraft operations in Washington state and South Carolina. Initially, this fuel will be a 30-70 blend of SAF, but Boeing hopes to ramp up the share of SAF in the blend to 50 percent — and ultimately 100 percent. Boeing hopes to certify its fleet for 100 percent SAF operations by 2030, as does Airbus.

Worldwide Plogging Day: Can’t get something together in time for Earth Day? Not a problem. There’s always Worldwide Plogging Day (plogging is a mash-up of Picking up Litter and Jogging). The event is Saturday, May 28.

Yahoo! recently covered plogging. In its article, Yahoo! reporters conducted an interview with Suzy Quinn, a personal trainer from PureGym Birmingham, who said that she believes the trend is becoming so popular because it puts an eco-friendly spin on a traditional fitness method. The following are direct quotes from that article:

"Plogging not only helps to combat plastic pollution, but is also a very effective form of exercise," she explains. "It’s a free and easy way to train, gives you the perfect opportunity to get outdoors and leaves you feeling good knowing that you’re doing your bit for the environment."

And plogging is a fantastic work-out.

"Plogging is a combination of cardio, functional resistance and interval training," Quinn explains. "Aside from jogging, when you’re collecting the litter, you’ll be reaching, stretching, bending, squatting and constantly using your core muscles so it provides a full body workout.

Although Worldwide Plogging Day has its roots in Austria, it has followers worldwide. Those wishing to know more about the event, or just to join in, can e-mail

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