Comrades Marathon inspired to #GOGREEN
May 17, 2017  

The #GOGREEN campaign – a waste management and anti-littering movement (a partnership between Old Mutual, Wildlands and POLYCO) was launched at the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon earlier this year.

Approximately 16 tons of waste was collected off the 56km route, and the waste is set to be placed into 500 Green Desks which will be distributed to disadvantaged schools in the Cape.

#GOGREEN was developed by Wildlands and supported by Old Mutual, and aims to provide a practical solution for collecting waste from athletes and spectators at endurance events, while educating them about not littering, as well as recycling and upcycling.

The Comrades Marathon Association was inspired by the success of this campaign in Cape Town and are now working with Wildlands to implement #GOGREEN along 27km of the 87km Comrades route this year.

In practice there will be 300 #GOGREEN Throw Zones along the 27km allocated to Wildlands, and essentially that means that a runner will see a bin on either side of the road every 150 meters.

There will be a team of around 100 Wildlands’ recycling staff that will ensure the 27km allocated to #GOGREEN and Wildlands will be spotless once the race has come to an end. They will also ensure all the waste collected is sorted and baled for transportation to RWPA (Rural Waste Poverty Alleviation) Solutions’ headquarters – where it will be transformed into Wildlands’ Green Desks. These Green Desks hope to address the 300 000 school desk shortage in South Africa.

“We believe #GOGREEN is a waste management plan that offers a sustainable way to collect and process the non-organic waste generated during a race such as this,” said Wildlands’ Strategic Manager Buyi Dlamini.

Karen Thomas, Old Mutual Head of Brand, says, “One of the most exciting aspects of Old Mutual's sponsorship of events like the Comrades Marathon is that it allows us to be innovative and to connect with people in a direct and engaging way. This year, mindful of our responsibility to make the world a better place, we are proud to be a part of the #GOGREEN campaign, which aligns strongly with our responsible business philosophy.”

The 500 Green Desks that will be produced from the waste collected at Comrades and distributed to KwaZulu-Natal schools in need, have been made possible through a partnership between Wildlands and POLYCO (Polyolefin Recycling Company NPC). POLYCO is a not-for-profit industry body which aims to achieve greater diversion of plastics from landfill. POLYCO is involved in supporting the recycling industry by funding collection, recycling, and new end-use growth projects.

Comrades Marathon Association General Manager, Chris Fisher says, “The CMA is excited with the introduction of the #GoGreen Throw Zones along 27km of the Comrades Marathon route on Sunday, 4 June. This clean-up initiative is what Comrades subscribes to. We are proud to be associated with the #GoGreen movement.”

POLYCO CEO, Mandy Naudé states “POLYCO is very pleased to be part of the Green Desks campaign, along with Old Mutual, GOGREEN and Wildlands. This project is a perfect fit within our organisation in terms of finding new market end-uses for recycled polyolefin pellets or for difficult to recycle multi-layer materials. These desks are being made from 100% recycled material – predominantly polyolefin material, which is extremely durable and perfect for school desks. We look forward to a long association with this project in order to be able to assist to meet two key needs in our country - to clean up our environment and to provide the necessary desks to our schools.”

Wildlands would like to encourage all runners to throw all their waste in the #GOGREEN Throw Zones, as well as the cardboard bins provided. We urge runners to work with us and Comrades and try reduce or even eliminate litter along the route.