Monterey, Calif. (April 8, 2009) – In an ongoing effort to reduce its environmental footprint, the Sea Otter Classic, a four-day celebration of sport, will introduce a new program this year that will involve everyone in its recycling efforts. People who throw recyclables in the correct bin (with or without help from volunteers posted near bins) will be offered a "ticket" to redeem for prizes at a "Zero Waste Store."
"People might think they are doing all they can by having a recycling bin at home, but at events, they just don't make the extra effort," said Frank Yohannan, president and CEO of the Sea Otter Classic. "This program will make recycling fun–competitive even–and educate our attendees about how easy it is to utilize the special recycling bins that we set up all over the venue."
Sierra Nevada is sponsoring this program with 30,000 recyclable bottle caps, which will act as "tickets" redeemable for more than 2000 donated goods from exhibitors and local businesses. Mandi McKay, sustainability assistant at Sierra Nevada, says they want to make sure attendees know that the Sea Otter Classic is very environmentally responsible, and does as much as it can, not only to protect and respect the land, but to teach others to do the same. Bottle caps can be redeemed at the "Zero Waste Store" for a variety of items, including bike clothes, socks, hats, energy drinks, stickers, water bottles, books, videos, bike parts, sunglasses, reusable grocery bags, and more. Attendees will also have an option to throw their lot into a raffle, held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, for a Thule rack system.
How You Can Get Involved
There are also other options for an environmentally-friendly weekend at Sea Otter. Toyota has returned as the sustainability sponsor for carpool and hybrid parking. Anyone driving into Laguna Seca in a hybrid or other alternative fuel vehicle will be able to park in the reserved parking near the Sea Otter Village. Carpools of four or more people will also be able to park in reserved parking.
But why not ride your bike to the venue? Clif Bar's staff has done it for three years in a row, once even riding all the way from their Berkeley, Calif. headquarters. Clif Bar is a perfect example of a Sea Otter sponsor that motivates people to minimize one's footprint on the world. Their "two-mile challenge" urges everyone to bike (instead of drive) any trip that is two miles or less, and their energy bar wrapper collection program will create backpacks, gym totes and other products out of used wrappers. This year, they will also sponsor the bike commute for the Bicycle Leadership Conference attendees to the venue on Friday.
One of the Best Recycling Efforts of Monterey County Events
It's one thing to set up recycling bins, and another to motivate the public to take responsibility to use them, says Matt Fore, supervising environmental health specialist with Monterey County Health Department Recycling Services. Sea Otter has a recycling plan that involves all their exhibitors and food vendors, which is the source for most event waste.
"The Sea Otter Classic has consistently been one of our most successful events in terms of the recyclables they keep out of the garbage stream, and the involvement they inspire from the individuals at the event," said Fore. "It takes a real commitment to stay in the forefront of people's minds on a subject like recycling. Sea Otter has an excellent record for an event that sees the public only once a year."
To ensure the success of this initiative, and stand by its commitment to the local community, Sea Otter has partnered with The Offset Project, a local non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire involvement in green action around the community.
About Sea Otter Classic, Inc.
The 19th Annual Sea Otter Classic will be held April 16-19, 2009 at the Laguna Seca Recreation Area, Monterey, Calif. The four-day "Celebration of Sport" is considered the world's largest cycling festival, hosting nearly 10,000 professional and amateur athletes and 50,000 fans. More information can be found at www.seaotterclassic.com or by calling 800-218-8411.
Donna Brown (local media)
Chris Worden (Web-related)