The Offset Project

"Our focus is to reduce carbon emissions by bringing communities in the Monterey area together, through education and grassroots initiatives"

Big Sur International Marathon


Big Sur International Marathon Green Initiatives:

For the second year in a row, the Big Sur International Marathon has received a GOLD certification through the Council for Responsible Sports. This is the highest rating any Marathon in the United States has received to date. The Marathon’s Green Team spent hours researching compostable products, developing collection logistics, educating hundreds of volunteers and learning first-hand how the material recovery industry works. The Marathon staff is dedicated at the highest level to reducing the event’s impact.  We look forward to sharing our knowledge with the Marathon community and creating a template of best practices.

Waste Management

The Marathon received an official 91.15% diversion rate for the 2011 event.  This has lead us to decrease our pound per participant from .64 pounds beginning in 2007 to .012 in 2011. This high diversion could not have happened without the dedication of the entire Marathon staff and the hundreds of volunteers involved with this effort.

The Green Team was instrumental in developing a Vendor Policy which outlines our sustainability requirements.  The team used this policy to promote education during the Expo and throughout the event, identifying materials and showing vendors how to use our zero waste stations.

Hundreds of volunteers manned the Green zones where the trash, recycle and food waste bins were set out.  In addition to the educational component, many helped hand sort through all the materials. The Marathon set out roughly 140,000 cups which were all composted

The Green Team fine-tuned our donation program for our discarded clothing.  45 bags of clothing estimated to weigh 1,575 pounds were picked up by local charities. And truckloads of food were distributed to local food bank.  We will continue to streamline the process of donating items next year.   We would like to benchmark the amount of materials we are reusing or repurposing as this is the most important component to waste reduction.


All participants in the Marathon, Relay, 21-Miler and 10-Miler are shuttled to their respective start areas.  Buses also shuttle them back to the pick up areas/hotels, etc. This keeps thousands of cars off the road.  Although locals are asked to take shuttles, the Marathon also provides information on our website to facilitate carpooling to the event.

Food and Beverage

Consideration is given to the amount of food served to each participant in order to avoid uneaten food. The tray and packaging are reduced to the point that the only thing not able to be compostable is the aluminum juice can – which is recycled.  In the VIP and volunteer tents, all foods are served bulk with no packaging.  Cream cheese is even served in a bowl so that participants can serve themselves.

BYOB -We encourage racers, particularly walkers, to reduce waste and bring their own bottles to refill at aid stations. A water truck transports water down the course. Aid station captains fill water barrels that are used to fill individual cups for the racers as needed.  There are no plastic water bottles served at the Marathon.

Communication and Marketing

The Marathon has 100% online registration.  If it is impossible to do online registration, a participant can call our office and do a phone registration. Also, Virtual Goodie Bags, a Virtual Race Results Book and Virtual Race Certificates reduce waste created from printing.

Together these recycling and food waste diversion efforts were heavily promoted during the event by creating talking points that were read aloud during the event and Expo. The Green Team also set up our first annual booth to showcase our greening efforts.  We are also supporting a national effort to assist other marathons in creating zero waste programs.




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Upcoming Events

Wednesday, Jun 1 at 3:00 PM - Saturday, Jun 4 4:00 PM