Western Sporting Events are ‘Greener’ with WE

Walker Environmental Inc (WE) worked with Event Teams from Banff to measure, manage and reduce the environmental impact that large events have on the environment. This year we provided Carbon Neutral Service to two special events in Banff, Alberta. The first was the Alberta Winter Games (AWG) in February 2014 followed by the Banff Marathon in June 2014.

Alberta Winter Games and WEG

Walker Environmental ’s Organics Manager Geoff Boyd with Joey O’Brien, co-director of the Alberta Winter Games

Alberta Winter Games
The Alberta Winter Games were held February 6-9 with more than 2500 participating in 22 sports in the Banff/Canmore area. We joined the games as the Sustainability Sponsor seeing it as an opportunity to showcase to a larger audience our expertise in waste diversion and the quantifying and managing carbon impacts.

We worked with the Advisory Committee to measure, reduce and offset the carbon impact of the entire event. This carbon footprint included greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from all ground transportation vehicles, running of equipment and heating the 17 venues. To offset the Games, the equivalent amount of high quality carbon offsets from the East Landfill – Gas Recovery and Utilization Project were retired on the CSA CleanProjects® Registry. We also provided the Committee with suggestions for further reduction opportunities for future events.

In addition, we donated $10,000 donation to the AWG to cover the costs of processing Biosolids and source-separated organics generated from the event. All this material was recycled into a beneficial fertilizer that will be used in turf grass production and soil blending applications.

The Committee was extremely pleased with our work and efforts. Joey O’Brien, co-director of the Committee said “WE has been key to enable our vision for more sustainable Alberta Winter Games.”

Banff MarathonBanff Marathon
June 23, 2014 was the inaugural Banff Marathon. Originally planned for 2013 the race was cancelled as a result of the severe floods that occurred across Alberta. Banff is a National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage site. We were thrilled to be part of such a historic event. The Marathon not only captivated participants with the beauty of the course but also captured the scrutiny of environmental groups concerned about impact to wildlife and the sensitive ecology of the Park. The route had to be changed just before the race to avoid a female grizzly and her cubs. The marathon drew more than 1,300 participants from 17 countries.

The fact that we operate an N-Viro processing facility at the Banff WWTP makes us a good partner in creating a more sustainable race. Our Banff operation converts the town’s wastewater treatment residuals (“biosolids”) source separated organic waste and into an agricultural fertilizer. This nutrient-rich fertilizer, known as “Banff N-Rich®”, is sold to agricultural customers as a sustainable, low cost alternate to conventional fertilizers. The organic wastes generated during the Banff Marathon were processed at the N-Viro facility and beneficially re-used as N-Rich®.

We also met with the Banff Marathon Sustainability Committee and developed a two-year carbon management strategy to measure, reduce and offset unavoidable emissions for the event. The targeted GHG emissions associated with the 2014 Banff Marathon encompassed all operations offices and race activities as well as the 61 athletes traveling from China, which is the furthest of all destinations.

Next year, we and the Banff Marathon Sustainability Committee will seek to measure and reduce the GHG emissions associated with all participants’ travel. Efforts will be made to reduce the GHG impact of the event through the promotion of carpooling and the use of alternative and more efficient modes of transportation. The remaining and unavoidable GHG emissions associated with participants travel will still be the number one carbon impact of the Banff Marathon; therefore, we will look to offset the entire footprint to make travelling to and from the event carbon neutral.