Litter hero Ironman 2023

ReefClean: The Race Against Waste

How will IRONMAN Group tackle waste this year?

Tangaroa Blue Foundation and the IRONMAN Group will be collaborating under the ReefClean initiative to tackle waste generated at this year’s Cairns Airport IRONMAN.

The project is a ReefClean initiative that was developed to reduce the amount of event specific waste sent to landfill and help overcome issues such as pollution from litter on the race course.

We know that the majority of athletes do the right thing when it comes to disposing of water bottles and performance nutrition packets, but we want to make sure that nothing is left behind. Look for the following Start and End signs at each transfer station, which indicate the start and end of the litter drop zones.

These signs will also be on the course to remind athletes to hold onto their litter between aid stations! 

The initiative will include working closely with the Cairns Airport IRONMAN volunteer team to improve education around the effective separation of rubbish at aid and transfer stations. In addition, stallholders at the event’s Expo will be provided with resources on minimising waste and improving recycling, particularly with regards to single-use soft plastic packaging.

IRONMAN Cairns are the first multinational organisation in the Great Barrier Reef catchment area to focus on their environmental footprint through collaborative projects with the Tangaroa Blue Foundation. This is an exciting opportunity to showcase best practice in terms of waste management and reduction at large scale, public events.

How Can I Get Involved?

If you’re an athlete…

Only discard rubbish such as water bottles and nutrition packs within the designated litter drop zones. 

If you have any unwanted race gear, you can dispose of your swim cap at the end of the racecourse and any other race equipment in Transition 2.

Find out what Nick Carling has been doing to reduce his waste through his #trashtalktuesday initiative and hear why he wants to help protect the Great Barrier Reef.

 Check out this Athlete Waste Guide on our website. 

Whether you’re a pro or a casual competitor, you can also be a ReefClean Ambassador and #treadlightly! We’d love to hear from you. 

If you’re an IRONMAN volunteer…

As a volunteer responsible for waste management within aid and transfer stations we greatly appreciate your help in ensuring the success of streamlining the waste into their correct bins. We’ll see you at the Aid Station briefing before the event to help answer any questions!

If you’re a stallholder at the Expo…

We’ve made a checklist to help stallholders divert waste from landfill and reduce single-use plastics.

You can download the Guide to Sustainable Merchandising here.


Follow us on social media, share the campaign and tag us!

Tangaroa Blue Facebook or Instagram @tangaroablue
ReefClean Facebook or Instagram @reefclean

If you’d like to volunteer as a ReefClean Litter Hero or find out more information on how to get involved, please contact

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