Organizers of London Marathon joined hands to fight against plastic by introducing biodegradable seawood pouches to replace plastic bottles.
One of the major issues faced by the world today is the mounting waste of non-biodegradable plastic. Several countries across the world are taking steps to reduce the use of plastic, both by banning single-use plastics and by finding alternatives that could replace plastics. Shortly after the news of New York banning single-use plastic, London, too, has followed suit. In an attempt to reduce plastic waste, London Marathon runners were handed out seaweed plastic pouches instead of water bottles, making the event more sustainable.
In the event that hosted more than 41,000 runners, each one was handed an edible pod made of seaweed extracts in place of regular plastic bottles as they reached mile 23 reported CNN. The capsules were filled with Lucozade Sport, an electrolyte drink.
More than 30,000 capsules were given out to the runners by the volunteers assigned at the marathon. The experience of consuming the pod is referred to as similar to eating a cherry tomato.
The organizers who have been challenged to reduce the amount of plastic waste during the marathon with many demanding the ban of single-use plastic has finally been able to find the perfect solution to a problem that haunted them for years. By introducing seaweed pouches, the organizers aim to cut the number of plastic bottle usage by 200,000.
"We are passionate about the concept of Eliminate, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and fully committed to reducing our environmental impact," said Event Director Hugh Brasher to CBS. The association added that it was determined to achieve the goal of going zero-waste by December 2020.
"We believe we run the best mass participation events in the world and we want to match that by leading the world in mass participation event sustainability," said Hugh Brasher.
According to CNN, the pods were produced by a London-based startup called the Skipping Rocks Lab. The pods designed to be both edible and biodegradable are tasteless and would be biodegraded in a matter of six weeks if not consumed compared to plastics which take more than 450 years to decompose. The company also claims that the pods produced can be cheaper than plastic.
The startup headed by Garcia Gonzale and Pierre-Yves Paslier aims to make plastic disappear.
"The marathon is a milestone... we are hoping we will demonstrate that it can be used at scale in the future," said Garcia Gonzalez. He also added that the seaweed pod can be filled with other liquids as well and stated that the pod is meant for people on the move like runners and music festival attendees.
"Espresso Martinis have been the most popular product at festivals, where eating the packaging is also part of the experience," said Pierre-Yves Paslier. The duo who met while pursuing their course on innovative design engineering in London said that they were also working on other green alternatives for cling film and the plastic liners used in takeaway coffee cups.
Other than the pods, the London marathon organizers also took other steps to make the event environmentally friendly. Energy drinks were served in compostable cups to reduce the bottles from 920,000 in 2018 to 704,000 this year. They made sure that the bottles handed out this year were at least made of recycled plastic. The organization has also made arrangements to recycle all the bottles used at the marathon.