Probably the biggest negative impact that cycling has on our planet is the unsightly trash that some riders leave behind. As a large-scale sporting event, we avoid single-use products or excessive packaging where possible, with our focus on “Reuse”.
Here are the steps we take to minimize GFNY’s impact on the environment:
We’ve specifically designed your jerseys to have 2 extra pockets, one on each side panel to provide you:
a) a separate pocket where we can collect empty bar and gel wrappers, to keep the contents of your other pockets clean by keeping sticky wrappers separate;
b) an easy access pocket for a fast stowage of trash. We’ve saved you 0.8 seconds to not have to reach to your back pocket to deposit your wrapper. Now you have zero excuses to throw your trash;
c) extra storage space. We dislike sorting through already-full pockets that had empty wrappers. Now as you consume your nutrition, your back pockets become emptier. You can also use your side pockets for additional storage of extra gear when cycling in variable conditions that may require both hot weather and cool weather gear.
For those of you who don’t want to stop, you can get rid of trash at GFNY aid stations without even slowing down. At every aid station, there are Eco Bins. You can take advantage of your basketball skills by taking aim at the bins. But if you miss, don’t worry: our Aid Station teams clean up the entire vicinity of the Eco Bins and aid stations. You can get lighten your load and drop your trash guilt-free at aid stations in the Eco Bins.
As cyclists, we cover long distances over many hours and under physical exertion, and we need to stay hydrated. Over the 100-mile GFNY NYC course, every GFNY rider consumes several gallons of water. Supplying water in 1- or 2-gallon bottles would be the easiest option, and has the lowest cost. However, it also comes with a huge price to pay: mountains of trash that the empty bottles create after the event.
Since 2013, GFNY works with a local water supply company. The company supplies 2000-gallon water bubbles to each aid stations. Each bubble subsequently fills 4-6 Water Monster coolers (each with 7 spouts). The water is filtered New Jersey tap water and brought to each aid station and the GFNY finish village in 10,000-gallon potable water tankers. And while GFNY provides cups on an as-needed basis, we encourage riders to use the GFNY water bottle by top manufacturer ELITE that you receive at registration.
GFNY aid stations do not hand out single-use water cups with water or electrolyte drink. Cyclists have the benefit of having a bottle cage and you carry your beverage with you on your bike - this is great! Water and electrolyte drink can be refilled into your bike bottle. We do provide cups for soda consumption, because we understand that you probably don’t want to have soda in your bike bottle.
Every rider at GFNY receives the GFNY Fly bike bottle by ELITE. It is the result of a 3-year study conducted with two different University research teams aimed at introducing not only the lightest water bottle in the market but also the most eco-friendly plastic bike bottle.
The objectives of this study were:
- Creating a new plastic compound that would provide reduced development of bacteria and molds, and therefore a longer life cycle of the bottle
- Reducing the environmental impact of life cycles of our bottles.
The result is the Fly bottle, that at a weight of only 58g for the 750ml version, takes first place as the world’s lightest bottle (standard bottles’ weight is around 90-100g – for 500ml !).
By saving up to 40-45% of plastic material, ELITE massively reduced the environmental impact of their production.
Since the Fly bottles are conceived to be reused, ELITE made sure that the odorless valve could be removed very easily for cleaning and drying.
Furthermore, 100% of the raw material used for creating the Fly bottles is transformed into the final product, including scraps, allowing ELITE to achieve a non-stop material recycle.
ELITE’s production center makes use of pharmaceutical technology via electric-powered machinery that minimizes energy use because it doesn’t require constant pressure as hydraulic machines would. Without hydraulic control, there are also no oil contamination risks, which is key for products destined for food use like water bottles, and overall to achieve faster and greener production cycles.
When you race a GFNY, your goodie bag isn’t overflowing with fliers or useless trinkets. From our decades of racing, we were always frustrated at getting a goodie bag that was “full” with items. Upon arriving to our hotel, we would go through the contents and were left with one small sample of a product. Every other content of the bag (fliers or useless giveaways) went in the trash, including the plastic or paper bag that held the goodie bags.
Without having the “volume of garbage” in your goodie bag, it may make the goodie bag feel empty. But we feel strongly that GFNY goodie bags have to be quality over quantity: useful items that don’t create garbage. Reduce!
A big part of product perception is the fancy box that the item arrives in. A huge box, with tissue and padding inside, tags, booklets etc. for even the smallest item. It has been tempting to match the quality of our items with a box of equal quality to appease even more. However, the packaging has to be produced yet immediately lands in the trash: the product serves a purpose, the fancy box does not. Furthermore, larger boxes mean bigger volume, mean higher transportation emissions in transporting the items. Hence, we don’t add unnecessary packaging as the most environmentally friendly option.
Our GFNY cycling apparel factory in Italy is OekoTex certified: the apparel does not contain components and chemicals that are dangerous for your skin and rest of the body which means the apparel is also low impact on the environment. There are no harmful residues getting into the water when washing or ultimately discarding the items.
GFNY Speed Sunglasses are now made of a 58% bio-based material. It’s just as light as the now industry standard TR-90, the lightest injection molded plastic in existence, yet more eco-friendly.