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Sustainability tips

Sustainability tips

At Oxfam, it’s not just our logo that’s green

Oxfam Trailwalker is not only the greatest team challenge - it's also a sustainable one! We're committed to reducing our environmental impact and being a leader in event sustainability. The thing is, we need your help! Reducing our carbon footprint depends on you, so much so, we even have an award for the most environmentally sustainable team and support crew!

In 2014 each team was responsible for emitting 870kg CO2. In 2015 we strived to reduce this amount to under 800kg CO2 / team. We encourage participants and support crews at Oxfam Trailwalker 2016 to be part of this challenge by taking steps to reduce their emissions. Read on to learn some simple tips for you and your team:


Tip 1: Carpool

The absolute best way to reduce your team’s carbon emissions is with less cars! So plan your event carefully to get your team, support crew and gear to and from the event and leave that extra car behind.  Support crews will be limited to two vehicle passes per team (no entry to a checkpoint without your vehicle pass) to help us reduce our transport emissions.

99% of the events footprint comes from transport and vehicle emissions. Using a camper van for your team and support crew is one of the most sustainable actions your team can take. Carpooling together is also the most fun way to get to Oxfam Trailwalker!

Check out our carpool adverts or post your own message detailing a little about yourself.

Tip 2: Re-think the bottled water

By carrying a BPA-free hydration pack you can go hands free, spread the weight of heavy water and navigate those steep climbs easier. You can also refill your pack at the checkpoint water stations so no need to bring bottled water. We've already done the research for you and there's great deals from Bivouac on hydration packs. Plus, 10% of any purchase will be donated to your team page. Go green and earn fundraising dollars!

Did you know? Nearly 90% of plastic water bottles go to landfill which take thousands of years to decompose. 

Tip 3: Reduce and reuse

Consider what you're buying – do you need individually wrapped muesli bars or could you buy in bulk and make your own? How about taking your own shopping bags to the supermarket? Or, reusing your zip locks for the bulk bins? The unpackit website has some awesome info!

On average, a person uses approximately 1,500 paper napkins per year - around four each day. If everyone the used one less napkin a day, more than a half a billion kilos of napkins could be saved from landfills each year.

Tip 4: Ditch the disposable

Oxfam Trailwalker is disposable cup free. To take advantage of the delicious Fairtrade tea, coffee and hot chocolate at registration and all the checkpoints, you'll need your own re-usable cup. You don't have to stop there - swap out any disposables and invest in long lasting solutions.

If every participant and just one support crew member used one cup per checkpoint, we would waste 12,000 cups.

Tip 5: Recycle

There will be recycling waste stations at every checkpoint (and compost too!). Speak to our green team at the event - they're there to help your team recycle so if you're not sure, ask!

As Kiwi's, 65% of what we send to landfill each year could have been recycled - imagine 65% less rubbish going to landfill.

Tip 6: Save fuel (and money) with a game plan

Support crews should create a game plan. Avoid unnecessary trips back to town or your accomodation by knowing what you and your team needs from the start. Here's a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Food – lots. For your team and for you. Don’t underestimate how much you’ll need.
  2. Gear – socks etc. Make sure you pack what they and you will need. It will get cold at night.
  3. Medications – Anti-flams, plasters, strapping tape, pain killers (think blisters).
  4. Things to do – magazines, books, cards, games and costumes to keep you entertained.
  5. Power for your phone, torch and the car!
  6. Plan – Check, check and check again. Shops are not open at 4am!

Tip 7: Stay together in a bach

It is best to stay in self-contained accommodation such as houses, apartments or baches as these produce less carbon emissions than hotels and motels. Staying in a campervan is even better!  

Staying together in a campervan over the event will consume less energy and produce less carbon emissions then staying in a hotel for just one night!

Tip 8: Leave no trace

“Pack it in, pack it out”. Anything you take onto the trail should be taken out. Pick up any rubbish you see on the trail or at the checkpoints. You will be crossing a huge amount of private land that has very generously been lent to us for the weekend so please make every effort to keep it as it was. 

More than 25,000kg of plastic waste is littered in New Zealand each day and on average each of us litter seven grams daily.

Tip 9: Use rechargeable batteries

Use rechargeable batteries in your head torch and have your support crew changing them up during the day so they are ready when you need them.

Using rechargeable batteries is a simple and cost effective way can help to reduce New Zealand's landfill waste by up to 5% alone!

Tip 10: Buy local

Your team will need lots of food to keep you energised! Before setting off, organise with your support crew to buy local products and support the community that supports your event while reducing food transport emissions.

A basketful of imported food creates more CO2 than cooking for 6 months! As a general rule you can reduce the impact of your purchasing by choosing products that are Fairtrade certified, organic or free range.

Tip 11: Switch-off

We are teaming up with local residents and businesses to "switch-off" for Oxfam Trailwalker. Local businesses pledge to 'switch off' any non-essential power over the event weekend. You can help too - switch everything off at the wall before you leave your home or bach and unplug appliances at the wall. Know a local business? Ask them to join our switch off campaign.

As much as 10% of the electricity used in your home is wasted power used up by adaptors, chargers, computers, and other appliances that are lift plugged in when you're not using them.