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The Banff Marathon continues to be considered the “Greenest Marathon on the Planet” and will work hard in 2019 to retain this honour. The 2018 event, with the assistance of SustainDriven, the Sustainability Committee and many incredible sustainability partners, implemented and managed 10 very successful green strategies.  The strategies, which will again be used in 2019 are as follows:

1. Waste Diversion from Landfill (Towards Zero Waste) – 100% in 2018!
The goal of the Banff Marathon is to achieve the “gold” standard in waste diversion (away from landfill). Utilizing the Bow Valley Waste Commission, Sustainability Committee members and volunteers, the 2018 Banff Marathon achieved this Towards Zero Waste Gold Certification by diverting an incredible 100% - all of the waste generated by the event from landfill!

Highlights of the 2018 Waste Diversion/Toward Zero Waste program:

  • 100% waste diversion!  New record!
  • The total waste decreased from 754 lbs in 2017 to 709 lbs in 2018.

In 2019, our target will be only 500 lbs of total materials handed by our Toward Zero Waste team. We will also try our best to meet or stay as close to 100% waste diversion as possible.

2. Carbon Neutral!  Offset all Global Greenhouse Gases
The Banff Marathon calculates the total greenhouse gas generation for the event which includes all travel from point of origin including all competitors, race operations, and home/remote office operations. These emissions are offset in their entirety by the event thanks to our partners in calculating and funding the GHG offsets - Walker Industries and BrightSpot Climate.  In 2018, the total emissions and offsets equalled 1245 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent.

3. Green Energy
The Banff Marathon utilizes green power - grid energy that is certified from renewable sources. Our partner with green energy is Bow Valley Power who provides EcoLogo certified power to the Banff Marathon.  What is EcoLogo certified power?  Power which is…

  1. Generated in a manner which meets the Fisheries Act and Canadian Environmental Protection Act
  2. Generated in a way that does not jeopardize the survival or recovery on any species designated as endangered or threatened
  3. Produced with air pollution falling under certain guidelines - emissions from carbon monoxide, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and sulphur oxides do not exceed certain thresholds
  4. Generated in the same calendar year, the first three months of the following calendar year and the last six months of the previous calendar year in which the green power is sold
  5. Evaluated with the overall environmental impact in mind, for example, not all hydro plants can be certified under the standard as some hydro plants result in a very high impact to their surrounding environment

4. Purchasing and Procurement Guidelines
The Banff Marathon utilizes a sustainability purchasing and procurement guiding document within the internal/external operations and partners to ensure that the products and services utilized in conjunction with the event are sustainably responsible.

5. Education and Engagement 
The sponsors and many of the funding partners view education and knowledge transfer as a critical element of their participation. The participants of the race, their friends and families, the various staff and volunteers for the race, the media, and local members of the community are educated on the sustainability strategies and goals of the event along with encouraging their engagement to accomplish the title of “Worlds Greenest Marathon”.  This takes place via electronic newsletters, web, social media, direct communications, media, print and on-site signage and programs. Particular attention is focused on the organizing committee, suppliers and governing bodies internally and the participants in the event. Many of the leaders in the Banff Marathon Sustainability Program are youth who, through integrated education modules will carry these messages forward to future generations!

6. Environmental and Wildlife Mitigation
All special events held in Banff National Park must undertake an EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) and develop a WRP (Wildlife Response Plan).  The Banff Marathon utilizes Parks Canada Wildlife Resource Management Officers, other Parks Canada personnel and a subcontracted Environmental Monitor to follow the strategies outlined in these plans.

7. Roam Transit and Responsible Transportation 
All participants, family members and volunteers are eligible for free local transportation with Roam Transit bus program.  Banff is the first municipality in Canada to introduce an all-hybrid electric transit fleet and continues to be a steward in environmental advocacy for the Bow Valley region.  Participants simply show their race bib to gain free access to Roam Transit for the race weekend.  In 2018, many trips were made on the Banff local and regionals route.  In addition to the ROAM transportation, participants and spectators are encourage to car pool, use other mass transit, hotel shuttles along with being encouraged to bike, walk and run to the event site.

8. Virtual Event Bag
The Banff Marathon utilizes an electronic “Virtual” Event Bag. This software eliminates the need for a physical race bag for each participant and results in a significant reduction of paper and plastic waste.

9. Bio Digestible Water Cups
On a hot day, the Banff Marathon can utilize up to 20,000 disposable cups. Bio-digestible cups are better than recyclable, compostable or in worst cases “coated” cups that are simply garbage. The bio-digestible cups are made from corn and compost very quickly – in a matter of a few days!  Programs will also be in place to encourage participants and spectators to carry their own re-fillable water bottles.

10. “Sustainability Village”
The Health and Fitness Expo features a "Sustainability Village" where participants, guests and vendors can learn even more about the sustainability initiatives.  This pavilion showcases some of the sustainability sponsors, has a sorting station and is staffed by enthusiastic students on the Sustainability Committee.  These students will be driving the next generation of leaders who will continue to lead us with strong sustainability programs for the future of the planet. Drop in and challenge the young staff to discuss the event’s successes.

Banff Marathon Media Release

Banff, Alberta, Canada – June 25th, 2018

The Banff Marathon Sets New Industry Record

Once thought Unachievable, the Banff Marathon Produces No Garbage

The results are in and the Banff Marathon has achieved its ultimate goal of diverting an incredible 100% of its waste from the landfill!  This achievement is unprecedented in the endurance event industry.

The Banff Marathon went to extensive measures to accomplish this goal over the course of 3 days of programs which involved 10,000 participants and family members participating in a two-day Health and Fitness Expo, a Kids Run, and race day which included a Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K on June 17th.  The goal was achieved through extensive pre-event education with stakeholders, suppliers and participants along with a team of staff and volunteers led by SustainDriven that sorted all waste while educating participants at the same time.

In 2016, the event produced 1043 pounds of waste and diverted 98%.  In 2017, the event took a significant step reducing the total waste to 754.5 pounds while diverting 99% from landfill.  This year, waste was further reduced to 709.5 pounds with all 100% being recycled!

Not only is the event one of the most stunningly beautiful running events on the planet, the Banff Marathon also lays claim to being the “Greenest Marathon in the World” and has 11 other Sustainability Programs including offsetting all greenhouse gasses to be carbon neutral, purchasing only green electrical power from renewable sources, free mass local transportation for participants, families and volunteers on environmentally friendly ROAM bussing – even the cups the participants drink from are biodegradable from annually renewable corn - and many more successful sustainability programs.

More about SustainDriven
SustainDriven is an innovative provider of environmental consulting and event operations that integrates world-class front-end and mid stream project consulting to execute sustainable water, waste, global green house gas and energy solutions. These actions, when integrated in an overall operations plan makes a facility, business, event or construction project attain “most sustainable in its class” level of accreditation.

More info:

Sustainability Program - 2017

Highlights of the 2017 Waste Diversion/Toward Zero Waste program:

  • 99.01% waste diversion!  New record!
  • The total waste decreased from over 1000 lbs in 2016 to 754 lbs in 2017.
  • A summary of the diverted items is listed on the following table:


Weight (lbs)

% Of total





Mixed Paper:






Hard Plastic:



Liquids - litres 122



Soft Plastic:






Metal Plastic Combinations (Gel packs, some wrappers etc.):






7.5 lbs Non-Recyclable







2016 Sustainability Goals

98.6% Waste Diversion - Gold Standard!

In 2016 the Banff Marathon had an incredible 98.6% Waste Diversion! The event produced almost 1000lbs of waste and only 10lbs went to landfill!

The green strategies utilized for the event included:

  • 857 tons of Global Greenhouse Gasses Offset!
  • Used the BVWC Towards Zero Waste Certification to rate our accomplishments. 98.6% of waste diverted from landfill
  • Utilized Green Energy from renewable sources
  • Utilized a Purchasing and Procurement guiding document
  • Education and Engagement with sponsors and partners to target waste diversion
  • Environmental and Wildlife Mitigation with Parks Canada and Environment Monitor
  • Free rides with ROAM transit for participants
  • Virtual Event Bags were used instead of plastic or paper athlete race kits
  • Bio Digestible Water Cups were used in place of plastic or wax coated cups
  • An Education Program was conducted with the Sunstainability committee and through the "Sustainability Village" at the Sport Expo.