20 April 2018

This year’s London Marathon will trial compostable cups

On Sunday, over 40,000 runners will pound the streets of London in what will be one of the hottest marathons during the event’s 37 year history.

This means the 26.2 mile run will be even more of a thirst-quenching, endurance test than normal with a huge number of drinks bottles and cups distributed to exhausted participants.

Each year, the event goes through hundreds of thousands of bottles, which are liberally distributed to runners as they pass the many drinks stations along the route. The issue of waste and recycling couldn’t be more visible during this incredibly popular event, and organisers are trying to address the problem.

Sunday’s marathon will for the first time trial the use of 90,000 compostable cups along three drink stations as an alternative to using single-use plastic. This is along with 760,000 plastic bottles also available to runners, according to the BBC.

The organisers endeavour to recycle all plastic used, although as the run goes through various London boroughs it can be difficult to organise a unified clean-up operation. A spokesperson told BBC Radio 5 live that using recyclable plastic bottles remains “the best solution for the distribution of water and sports drinks to the more than 40,000 runners, given the very short window of road closures in one of the world's busiest capital cities."

Mike Childs, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth, commented: "the compostable water cups being trialled have the potential to lessen the amount of plastic waste created by the marathon, but there are challenges when it comes to the correct collection and processing of these to ensure they have their full impact".


Photo Credit: Malcolm Murdoch

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