Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week - Sailors for the Sea

Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week

 April 12, 2014  | By: Oceana

Beautiful weather, daily wild dolphin sightings, and rum drinks for days – sailing events don’t get much better than the Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week, but big temporary events such as this one can create lots of waste. Sailors for the Sea’s Clean Regattas program was created to help regatta organizers minimize these impacts – and leave their waters healthy, clean and beautiful.

Fifteen thousand – that’s approximately the number of disposable, single use cups that were saved from the Bees Ferry Landfill in Charleston, South Carolina last weekend. The venue did not have the proper recycling infrastructure and race organizers were unsure what could be done – so Tyson Bottenus, our program coordinator, started making phone calls. Connecting regatta organizers with ClearStream bins, provided by Charleston County, brought recycling to the beach parties of this awesome regatta, and that was just the start. A Zip2Water filtration placed by the docks filtered the equivalent of 150 single use 16.9 oz. plastic water bottles.

Why do we go to all this trouble? Because every decade, global production of plastic doubles. That’s right. Doubles. As in, we made twice as many plastic cups, plastic bottles, forks, knives, toothbrushes between 2000-2010 than we did in the 1990s. And at the rate that we’re filling our landfills, this lifestyle is becoming unsustainable.

Water testing was done by Charleston Water Keeper to see if the regatta made an impact (test results to come!) and a green team, led by Tyson, helped sort trash and made sure it stayed off the beach. We were also proudly told that the race committee has been reusing their lunch bags at the event for ten years. Imagine the number of plastic bags they have saved!

In the end, Sperry Top-sider Charleston Race Week was certified as a Silver level Clean Regatta. But most importantly they started their sustainability story, beginning a legacy about taking care of the waters they love.