Bys Vyken Events & Cornish Trails  

               The Heritage... 

As the race director and individual sole trading as 'Bys Vyken Events & Cornish Trails' , I pledge to make a noticeable difference in the way that my events can impact the environment and the lives of others who live in the surrounding areas of all our races.
 I recognised that after a small event which left me with 7 bags of waste including plastic cups at the end of it  that I needed to do something about this situation. Sure it's cheaper to buy plastic consumables. That's a factor in these well documented times.  I would rather spend the extra and have something that doesn't destroy the very foundations of where we reside or even where our precious wildlife on land and sea reside. 
Only around 50% of the 35 million plastic bottles being sold around the UK everyday are recycled. 7 million coffee cups are dished out in takeaway form daily. 6.98 million of these are stuck in a landfill site.
 Even worse, these items can and all too often end up in our seas. Plastic in the sea in the UK has risen by 150% in just one single year. Even 1 trillion pieces of plastic is frozen in arctic ice. It only takes 2 weeks to get there from our shores here in the UK. Up to 12 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans every year, mostly consisting of single use items now discarded as waste. Bad waste management and littering or simply the items escaping the landfills by being blown away into sea and rivers that flow to the ocean are generally the causes. Even microbeads that end up down a drain go straight to the oceans. We all have to learn to live with the fact that we can't keep treating the deep blue like a sink!
This problem doesn't just stop at the water. The land is overpopulated by the constant dropping of single use and non biodegradable materials also. Those plastic rings that birds get their necks caught in is the most used example but that's because it's genuinely one of the most frequent occurrences. Companies who choose to give out single use plastic food and drinks containers are just as much of an issue as those who choose this way of purchasing. and consuming.
 I mentioned on the homepage under the Barry Commoner quote, that ,"Making a living is great. Making a difference to where you're living is greater". That's not a sentence I pulled from a book or the internet. I thought of those words whilst cooking pasta at home and quickly had to write them down due to the words ringing true to me and never wanting to forget them because it was so powerful. They struck such a chord with me and further reinforced my need for change and my need for instant action.
I no longer wanted to stay ignorant to the ongoing problems and my own help in making our society a desolate and putrid sinkhole of other humans' consumable wastage. I had to do something no matter how tiny.
 My aim wasn't just to become Cornwall's first and currently only plastic free running organisation. It was to help look after the environment in which I'm generating my product on. So many areas of my events take place in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and/or areas looked after by the (in my opinion anyway) hardworking guys and gals of The National Trust. All you have to do is take a look around our beautiful county to know that nobody should treat our rugged shoreline like an industrial cesspit. Our economy runs solely on tourism here and with the areas looking a little less than clean the holidaymakers would be less likely to return to these greener pastures here in Kernow.
I figured how could I promote our heritage if I was responsible for potentially dumping 7 bin bags of plastic on it? Am I ashamed? Yes. Is it too late to change how you act? Never.
 We aim to never use plastic containers for food/drink at our events ever again. We will and have already replaced such with polylactic acid (PLA) thermoplastic aliphatic polyester products naturally sourced from plants.  Recycling PLA is a little way off yet with Belgium being the first country to pilot the scheme so composting will suffice until global recycling takes hold one day, hopefully. They are biodegradable and 100% non plastic.   Unlike the conventional plastic items which can take up to 400 years to break down, these items can be degraded and composted within 12 weeks/ 3 months. PLA in solid form is non toxic, being used around the world in takeaways, restaurants, clubs and bars etc.
Here's the downside to using PLA in the UK:
PLA is not currently recycled and attempting to recycle it with recyclable plastics just contaminates the stream as such and therefore making what was recyclable now waste. 
Also PLA is best composted in a composter facility which is hard to come by in the South West and in Cornwall in particular. On the whole it would be better to use the ecotainer coffee cups as water holder and continue to promote the usage of reusable cups and implement them into our events. We plan on being totally cupless and many of our events.
 Our hot cups that we use can be compostable or recyclable. These containers can be accepted by sites that recycle poly-coated paperboard and packaging. They will be composted however when they can't be recycled In these hot walled cups,we serve hot drinks along with hot food,i.e soup or chili. 
 Surveys in the USA have even suggested that most consumers cannot tell the difference between the original cups and the bio products.
 Our cutlery has been swapped from single-use plastic to birch wood cutlery ,ie forks and spoons for the participants of the events to use during and after their chosen race/event. 
 All of our general black bag bin liners will be replaced with biodegradable liners. They are GMO free, renewable, compostable and have been certified to international standards for biodegradability and composability.
 We will also be offering at certain events (the longer ones than half marathon distance where you'll be responsible for carrying kit) the opportunity to purchase at a cheap rate, reusable silicone cups that collapse down, have containers and a karabiner to attach to kit bags/hydration systems in form of vest/gilet. Some events will have a kit check where the participant will be required by the rules of the event that they will have specific kit laid out in form of a list given out in pre event literature. One of these items is a reusable cup because there will be absolutely no plastic cup, bio-plastic cups and certainly no single-use bottles or likewise on the race route. These will be the events where there will be very minimum waste of any description.
 There will also be other events where a 'Summit' Space Saver collapsible silicone reusable cup will be included in the entry fee of the event. Participants will be responsible for these cups as and when they want to take on fluid along with their already packed hydration kit which again, will be a requirement .(Bring your own is a big part of ultra running and the runner couldn't run the distances without being self supported to a degree). These cups will be participants' to keep long after the event is over.
 I will personally disqualify entrants who choose to litter. Bys Vyken Events' crew/marshals who see the littering take place will audibly communicate back to race HQ with the litterer's individual unique race number and said person will be disqualified from getting a time, position, memento or be eligible for a prize, as laid out in our online terms and conditions ,also sent out in form of pre event emails and also laid out in all event safety briefings/instructions. The person who was caught will be banned permanently from entering another Bys Vyken Event in the future.
 It's difficult to source better signage than the hazard tape that we have been using. Correx signage is fantastic as it's unmissable (90% of the time) and can be reused. There are certain places where tying something to a hedge or tree is a necessity due to there being nowhere to place the correx signage (posts, gates, fences etc).
We are actively seeking an alternative to the red and white hazard tape that's used for the navigation of the runner. Bys Vyken Events, like every race organiser/director out there put out a team that clear it all back in to make sure none is left out there damaging the environment. I am the last person to sweep the race route to do one final check on rubbish as ultimately the buck stops with me and I am ultimately responsible for what I do and for protecting the environment in which I do it in.
 I will keep working as hard as I can to promote this image of a greener and greater future for this events organisation, not because it's a 'selling point' or something that's a fad, but because I 100% believe wholeheartedly in all of it and that eventually more and more organisers may step away from single-use plastics and generic race junk and actually open a door to a better environment for everybody no matter the cost to the organiser. 
 Because remember, making a living is great. Making a difference to where we live is greater...
David Andrewartha
Event Director
Bys Vyken Events & Cornish Trails