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Can marathons improve recycling rates?

3 lessons from OSIM Sundown Marathon 2018

OSIM Sundown Marathon 2018  |  F1 Pit Building  |  19 May 2018

OSIM Sundown Marathon is an annual marathon which has made an effort to adopt more sustainable measures. Organisers of the 2018 edition partnered up with the Green Run Ambassadors and Green Nudge to reduce some of the waste generated. Their approach involved:


  1. Improving recycling rates by encouraging runners to recycle

  2. Reducing contaminated recyclables by guiding runners and using posters

  3. Reducing food waste (banana peels) by diverting it to compost sites in Singapore.

Let’s look at how they achieved this.

1. How was recycling encouraged?


Volunteer Group Involvement

Two volunteer groups Green Run Ambassadors (read about their work at Standard Chartered Marathon) and Green Nudge were partnered with to direct and motivate runners to recycle. The volunteers of these groups took on the role of Trash Ambassadors and guided runners to recycle or “Bin it Right”.


Strategic Placement of Recycling Bins

Many recycling bins were placed throughout the grounds in order to encourage and support recycling. Thought was given to the placement of the recycling bins, with hotspots for trash identified, and recycling bins positioned there.

  • Exit from run 

  • Food Stalls area 

  • Along areas where there was heavy traffic

OSIM Marathon food waste

Recycling bins positioned near the food stalls.

OSIM Marathon recycling at exit area

Recycling bins positioned just after the exit area.

OSIM Marathon recycling

Recycling bins positioned along high traffic areas.

Best Booth in Pavilion Design – G3 Industry

2. What was done to recycle correctly?


Trash Ambassadors

As runners approached bins, Trash Ambassadors directed them to drop their trash into the correct recycling bins. If this was not successful, volunteers used thongs to remove recyclables and put them into the correct bins. Posters were also used to encourage correct recycling. (Pic)


Coloured Bins

Coloured bins were used to some extent to encourage correct recycling – black for general trash, blue for plastic bottles and yellow for banana peels meant for composting.

OSIM Sundown 2018 cover

Recycling bins of different colours - red, yellow, black, and blue.

Li Sheng of Green Nudge instructing volu

Li Sheng, Founder of Green Nudge, instructing volunteers.

Volunteering with GRA and Green Nudge

Evaluating recycling at marathons while volunteering - with Tyre Lady (aka Rima) of Green Run Ambassadors and a young volunteer. 

3. Diverting Food Waste.


Much effort was placed to collect banana peels for composting at local community gardens. Many yellow collection bins were placed near the exit point where most runners consumed their bananas and threw their peels. 


Overall, 700kg of banana peels were successfully collected and diverted for composting – excellent work by both groups.

3 Lessons to Improve Recycling at Marathons

Strategies for Improved recycling at Mar

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