The Harrow half marathon on Sunday 16 September will be the first time that London has staged a single-use plastic-free running event.

Single-use plastic bottles are banned from the course. But runners will be able to rehydrate themselves at water stations along the 13.1 mile course with Ooho, water in biodegradable sachets made from a seaweed-based membrane. Participants can either nip the edge and drink the water or consume the entire capsule.

Runners will not be able to refill their own bottles. Regular water and biodegradable cups will be available but only as a backup in case of exceptionally high demand.

The makers of Ooho, which is biodegradable within six weeks, claim it is a world first and say it aims to curb the devastating effects of plastic on the oceans and the environment.

The move comes as running event companies tackle the issue of plastic wastage at races across the UK. Oohos filled with Lucozade sports drinks and gels will be trialled at the Richmond marathon – also on 16 September – and Tough Mudder in West Sussex on 29 September.

At this year’s London Marathon, compostable cups were trialled for the first time to try to reduce the volume of plastic bottles used and discarded along the track. 90,000 of the recyclable cups were put at three drink stations along the 26.2 mile (42.1km) route.

Last year the Guardian reported that a million plastic bottles are sold worldwide every minute, a large proportion ending up in landfill or in the oceans.

As part of his drive to reduce single-use plastic bottles in London, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has committed to delivering up to 20 new water fountains across the city this year. In addition to a new fountain in Carnaby Street in the West End, three more will follow this summer – two in Liverpool Street station and one in Bankside’s Flat Iron Square.

Rebecca Smithers

This article first appeared on the Guardian

edie is a member of the Guardian Environment Network

Comments (1)

  1. Trevor Smith says:

    the mouth-size pouches to drink at a single swallow _may_ work, if enough can be consumed – but I doubt the practicality of runners picking up a 250 ml pouch (almost half a pint), ‘nipping at the edge’ (of a sphere?) and sipping at it over a few minutes, on the run as they would with a bottle – still, that is what trials are for … quite a high risk strategy for the company though, if more than a handful of runners do get dehydration

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