Zero Waste / Sustainability

For us, zero waste makes perfect sense. We’re an athletic club, we’re focused on health and well-being, which starts with ourselves and extends to the world around us.  We’re  also a community-based club, we practice and hold our events at our local municipal pool.  This initiative is one way we can lead by example, be a positive role model, be more socially responsible, and improve the health of ourselves and our surroundings by reducing our environmental impact on this community we’re a part of.”    
– Erik Genermann, Club President

It’s a target, goal, and ongoing process that involves continually examining the waste our club creates and changing our purchasing, use, and disposal habits.  Most important, we prevent the creation of waste whenever possible.  For any waste we cannot prevent, we recycle and compost as much as possible, so as little as possible is sent to our local landfill, with zero being our goal.  We realize zero is a big goal, but we aim high, we invite all teams in the league to join us in this initiative and are happy to help you get started!

At the 2018 All City Swim meet…

  • Prevent waste before it happens.  Feel free to bring snacks from home, but consider alternatives to disposable packaging. Avoid bringing Styrofoam since it is not recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable. Bring items that can be taken home and re-used, and choose recyclable or compostable packaging – or no packaging at all.

  • Download our All City Swim App for FREE and get all meet materials digitally. The full meet program, heat sheets, race feed information, who’s in the pool, alerts for swimmer calls to clerk of course, site maps, directions and more – they’re all available on the All City app.  A limited number of no-frills heat sheets will be available, but there will be no traditional meet programs.

  • BYO water bottle and refill it as often as you’d like, all weekend long – for FREE. Our new water bottle refill station helps prevent plastic waste and saves you money. Forgot your bottle?  No problem. Purchase a refillable All City Swim souvenir bottle and fill it all weekend. Note, some bottled water will still be available for purchase, but we strongly encourage using refillable bottles instead.

  • Bring your waste items to Zero Waste stations located throughout the event grounds, where volunteers will help you recycle or compost your items instead of throwing them away, and answer questions about this initiative.

  • Know what items can be recycled – clean paper, and empty plastic, metal and glass containers.  At ZW stations we can also recycle granola and energy bar wrappers, chip bags and soft plastic bags and wrap.

  • Know what can be composted – plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables and products made from grain can all be composted, as well as paper products that are free of wax.

  • Ride your bike to All City Swim and save gasoline, save money, reduce pollution and your carbon footprint.  You can lock up your bike at one of two racks: (1) along Nichols Road in front of the pool entrance and (2) at Winnequah Elementary School.

  • Keep Tent City waste-free and your coach happy!  At the end of each day, secret judges will choose the teams who have left their tent the cleanest before going home for the day, and award prizes to their coaches.

In 2017 our club began our Zero Waste Initiative and we…

  • Recycled all our unused Styrofoam bowls, cups and plates from our concessions inventory and purchased  compostable alternatives to use from that point forward.

  • Created zero waste guidelines for food vendors and sponsors and asked them to help in this initiative by refraining from brining Styrofoam into our events and using compostable or recyclable materials.  Feel free to use this letter, modify it to your own needs, for your own food events. .

  • Added a Zero Waste Coordinator to our volunteer ranks and formed the club’s first Green Team.

  • Sought out the help from our friends at Brat Fest, the area’s largest zero waste event, whose organizers generously shared their experience, recommendations, and resources.

  • Tightened up our recycling practices and began composting by introducing zero waste stations at our home swim meets and events, staffed with volunteers to answer guest questions.

  • Partnered with Winnequah Elementary school and helped start a composting program for the Children’s Garden.  They in turn providing a drop-off site for our compostable items.

  • Helped raise money for Winnequah school by recycling chip bags and granola bar wrappers through their TerraCycle program, which has now raised over $2,000 dollars for our kids.

  • Printed no paper programs at All City Dive 2017, making this information available instead online.

  • Calculated our diversion rate at each event, by measuring the waste we composted and recycled compared to the waste sent to our landfill.

  • Achieved a landfill diversion rate between 65 and 70%.  In other words, of all the waste created at our home swim meets and All City Dive, we found a way to keep almost 70% of it out of our local landfill.  At home meets we averaged less than one bag of trash for every 200 people.  This does not include all the waste we prevented.

In 2018 – we also…

  • Worked to reduce plastic water bottle waste by partnering with the CIty of Monona Water Utility and Monona Parks and Rec to create the city’s first water bottle refill station.  The station will be in full swing at All City Swim, and will also be used at Monona community events.

  • Created the first All City Swim phone app to deliver all meet materials digitally, save paper and trees.

  • Worked with MGE, an All City Swim sponsor, to provide all power for the 2018 event from renewable energy sources, through MGE’s Green Power Tomorrow program.

  • Continued to help educate our members and guests about the importance of sustainable practices and have raised awareness about the little things each of us can do every day to pitch in and help reduce our environmental impact on our community.

On breaking old habits … “It’s not hard to do, you just have to be a little more intentional at times when you might not be used to being intentional.”  – Mary Schoenherr, Club Parent, Social Event Organizer

On moving from paper to digital programs..  “You could argue  that now we’ll have to pay someone to maintain a website or build an app, but then again, we’re not wasting all that paper and trees. At some point you just have to ask yourself ‘why are we doing this?’.”  – Phil McDade, Board Member, All City Swim Organizer

On a job well done…   “Thank you for your great work hosting the All City Dive Meet in Monona. I was particularly pleased to note that it was a Zero-Waste event, something I wish was more broadly adopted for public and private events.”  – Mark Miller, Wisconsin State Senator and Monona Resident