London Marathon hands out edible water capsules to reduce plastic bottle waste

 Organisers hope to reduce number of plastic bottles on course by more than 215,000

Sarah Young
Sunday 28 April 2019 15:50 BST
London Marathon 2019: 'Edible water bottles' made by Skipping Rocks Lab handed out to help reduce plastic bottle waste

Thousands of edible water bottles were handed out at the London Marathon today in a bid to reduce plastic waste.

The aftermath of the marathon is usually a sea of plastic waste as thirsty runners attempt to stay hydrated by drinking from then discarding bottles of water as they go.

Bu for the 2019 London Marathon, organisers arranged for participants to be handed edible pods made of seaweed extracts as they tackled the gruelling 26.2-mile route.

The pouches, made by London-based startup Skipping Rocks Lab, were made using a thin natural seaweed membrane.

The Ooho! capsules can be bitten to release the liquid inside and the cover can also be swallowed.

However, if runners do not want to eat the casing, they can throw it on the floor as the pods are designed to biodegrade within six weeks, compared to the 450 years it takes for plastic bottles to decompose.

“The marathon is a milestone ... we are hoping we will demonstrate that it can be used at scale in the future,” Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez, one of the startup's founders, told CNN.

This year’s marathon was not entirely plastic-free though, with water bottles available at shops along the route.

As part of the initiative to reduce unnecessary plastic waste, organisers have guaranteed that all water bottles handed out will be at least partially made of recycled plastic, and that all discarded bottles will be collected and recycled.

As well as efforts to cut the number of bottles in use, organisers are testing ways of recycling them more effectively.

Using a “closed loop” system, plastic bottles collected in Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, Southwark and Canary Wharf will be returned directly to a reprocessing plant where they will be recycled into new bottles.

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