IRC doubles its impact at 500 Festival Events

The primary goal of IRC’s Greening the Mini program is to minimize the events’ impact on the environment by capturing the majority of the 42K plastic water bottles, 10K aluminum beer cans, 42K bananas, and several tons of cardboard generated by vendors at both events.

This year, thanks to seasoned 500 Festival and IRC staff and dedicated volunteers, the IRC was able to more than double diversion numbers since the program’s inception in 2015. Over the course of both May events, over 8,521 pounds of mixed recyclables and 239 pounds of aluminum were recycled, and 968.5 pounds of banana peels were composted.

Diverting the 4.86 tons of materials towards recycling and composting was the equivalent of preventing 8.75 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.* The IRC was pleased to partner with The Can Lady Project and Earth Mama Composting for aluminum can recycling and composting, respectively.

This year marked the first time for Allyson Mitchell, the IRC’s new Executive Director, to get down and dirty in the process of event recycling. Said Mitchell, “The IRC’s goal with this and other similar partnerships is to usher in waste minimization as a social norm at events in Indiana by offering a program that is both highly visible, consistent, and includes recommendations for scalability and internalization.”

Bob Bryant, president and CEO, 500 Festival stated “We’re very proud of the results the teams have generated to minimize the environmental impact of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and Salesforce & JPMorgan Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day. While we had offered recycling options at these events in the past, thanks to our partnership with IRC and a dedicated team of volunteers, we’ve been able to maximize the amount of recyclable and compostable materials captured at two of our largest events. Since 2015, our recycling and composting program has diverted nearly 27,000 pounds of waste from landfills – that weight is the equivalent of 16 IndyCars. And, because these materials were funneled to local manufacturers, we were able to positively impact our local economy.”

View the 500 Festival photo album here:

* Calculated using the US EPA Warm Tool, 2016.

The Indiana Recycling Coalition (IRC) is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization formed in 1989 to support waste reduction, reuse, composting and recycling activities in Indiana.  The IRC’s members include state and local governments, business, industry, not-for-profits and individuals.  Visit the IRC website and follow @INRecycling on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. IRC’s Lend-a-Bin program, which made Greening the Mini possible, encourages event organizers to minimize their environmental footprint by renting out recycling and composting bins and accompanying signage. In 2017, the usage of Lend-a-Bins led to the diversion of 12,500K pounds of recyclables and compostables from disposal and gave over 200,000 Hoosiers access to public space recycling.

Founded in 1957, the 500 Festival is a not-for-profit organization that produces life-enriching events and programs that celebrate the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 and foster positive impact on the city of Indianapolis and state of Indiana. One of the largest festivals in the nation, each year more than half a million people attend an event or program produced by the 500 Festival. Since its founding, the 500 Festival has contributed more than $400 million in economic value to Indianapolis. To learn more about the 500 Festival, please visit or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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