Lessons in waste management from the Bengaluru Marathon 2014

Editor’s note: 

On October 19th, Bangalore witnessed what was touted to be the city’s first world class annual marathon – the Bengaluru Marathon 2014. Over 8,000 folks participated across several categories in the race. Any event of this magnitude typically generates a lot of waste – paper cups, plastic, running bibs and the like, and it is indeed a task to collect and dispose of it responsibly.  

The team handling the event however ensured that waste was disposed of in a responsible manner. This is indeed an example of responsible racing, one that other large scale events should emulate. Kudos to the entire team for the stellar job they have done in managing the waste generated at the run.

Shilpi Sahu sends an update.


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The Bengaluru Marathon 2014 has set a gold standard in waste reduction and management for many events in the city and the country to follow. Here’s the waste report: 

  • On the entire route of 42 kms, only 125 kg of dry waste (paper cups) was generated. 
  • Post run finish point was entirely zero waste. No disposable plates, cups or bottles used.
  • Full marathon route had a few refill points with reusable cups where runners could also fill the bottles that they were carrying on the run.
  • Waste pickers from Hasirudala, an NGO were involved. They are the invisible people who keep our city clean (Yes they do! Imagine how dirty the city would be, if they didnt). The dry waste they collected went towards their income.
  • The city has a vibrant and conscious waste management community. This event saw many of them coming together to support and volunteer at the event. 

Many thanks are in order for pulling off a zero waste event at this scale: 

  • Swetha and Avinash from Waste Warriors to come down from Hyderabad to volunteer and coordinate for waste management at this event.
  • Nalini Sekhar from Hasirudala for arranging the waste picker team at very late notice. Marwan, Krupa and Guru for supervising and coordination.
  • Claire Rao, Nagamani, Shyamala Suresh and Kalyan for volunteering at the food waste point from We Care for Malleswaram.
  • Ramakanth Sir from SWMRT for sweet-talking the caterers into submission the evening before the race day.
  • Vidhya, Nandini and Swetha Patil from Youth For Seva.
  • Rohit Arjunagi from Pacemakers.
  • Sindhu Naik for endless patience 🙂 and being present wherever needed.
  • Arvind Bharathi and team Runners For Life for putting up with demands from us, the waste people.
  • And last but not the least to Nagaraj AdigaReeth Abraham and other organisers for the patience in listening to my trash talk and letting us have our way.

There are learnings and we hope the next edition will be better. What’s more, we hope other racing events implement the same. If Bengaluru marathon could do it for 8000+ runners and support staff, could one not do it for a few hundred runners?

Runners, a request! If you ran Bengaluru Marathon 2014, we need your feedback. Please fill this form and help Bengaluru Marathon keep it green next year too – http://goo.gl/forms/eHTVHNvJiW

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About Shilpi Sahu 10 Articles
Shilpi Sahu is a techie, running enthusiast, SWM advocate and an amateur artist, all rolled into one.


  1. Shilpi!! Claire, Shyamala, Nagamani and Kalyan are from We Care for Malleswaram, which is a group of citizen volunteers! We are not from My Clean Malleswaram, which is a service provider. Can you please make the correction?

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