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Green Initiatives

With the AACR Philadelphia Marathon hosting nearly 30,000 competitors, 60,000 spectators, and 3,000 volunteers, we are also increasing our sustainability efforts. Thanks to you, we are at an 89.3% waste diversion rate and climbing, meaning 9 out of every 10 pounds of waste is being recycled, composted, donated, or reused.

The Philadelphia Marathon Weekend is proud to be officially a Zero Waste Partner, Silver Status, for 2017-208 (view letter). Let’s keep it up and make a new record this year!


It takes a great deal of hard work and planning to produce a sustainable event, but the AACR Philadelphia Marathon is committed to setting an example for the surrounding community and other races when it comes to environmental responsibility. We are making a strides to reduce the event’s carbon footprint by implementing green initiatives that reduce waste, reuse resources and recycle materials.

Help make this a more sustainable event by:

  • Please recycle your heat sheets at the Comcast Sustainability Tent located in vendor village near the finish line
  • Walking or taking SEPTA to get around the city
  • Asking your hotel to not change your sheets and towels with each cleaning service
  • Visiting local businesses to support local production and reduce our carbon footprint
  • Looking for Waste Watcher volunteers and bins like these

Some of the earth-saving steps we are taking behind the scenes:

  • Using e-cards instead of paper for discount offers
  • Reducing paper size of informational handouts by 50 percent
  • Using 100% recycled paper and eco-friendly inks in Race Weekend materials
  • Encouraging runners to register online
  • Offering information on our website encouraging participants to travel around Philadelphia by public transportation
  • Participating in a used sneaker recycling project at our Health & Fitness Expo with the MORE Foundation, an AACR Philadelphia Marathon charitable partner, to assist with job-creating community outreach efforts in Ghana, Africa
  • The Pennsylvania Convention Center, which hosts the Expo, performs single stream recycling to divert waste from landfills.
  • The expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Center achieved LEED® certification in 2011

Here's what we do on the course to be a more sustainable event:

  • Recycling cardboard and plastics on the race course
  • Eliminating the use of Styrofoam throughout the event
  • Setting up waste stations at the start/finish line and providing volunteers to help with sorting waste for composting and recycling
  • Composting at least 300,000 cups along the course
  • Using formaldehyde-free, non-toxic alternative to traditional chemicals in portable toilets onsite
  • Stocking all portable toilets with recycled toilet paper
  • Recycling excess runners' medals
  • Recovering more than 4 tons of runners’ clothing at the race day starting line to donate to local charitable organizations
  • Recycling excess runners' bags by sorted, then recycled or donating to local running clubs, school groups, and charity organizations
  • Donating excess food products such as water and/or runners' snacks to local shelters, charitable organizations, recreation programs, school groups and other competitive race organizations
  • Monitoring course and emergency functions primarily through the use of bicycles, scooter units, and ATV's, minimizing the carbon footprint as compared to fuel-guzzling vehicles and ambulances


Large public events like festivals, parades, athletic events, and concerts attract and entertain Philadelphia’s visitors and residents, but these events also produce a significant amount of waste. Events like the AACR Philadelphia Marathon are an opportunity to reduce waste and engage residents and visitors in the city’s Zero Waste efforts. You can help make Philadelphia the Home of Zero Waste Events by volunteering as a Waste Watcher at this year's event. Sign-up below to help break 2017's record of 90% waste diversion from the landfill! You will help sort materials into the proper bins at Start/Finish zone, recover discarded clothing from the runners, and receive a 2019 AACR Philadelphia Marathon volunteer hoodie.