A half-marathon has banned plastic water bottles in favour of seaweed balls

[UK] Plastic water bottles and plastic cups are always available at water stations for thirsty participants and the track itself often ends up littered with discarded receptacles. Runners need water but plastic bottles, light and convenient though they may be, are no good for the environment.

The Harrow half marathon in London has decided to do something about the over-use of plastics, banning single use bottles and cups entirely. It’s the first running event in the UK to do so. Far from letting runners go thirsty, the event will now offer participants little ‘nip and sip’ pouches, made from edible seaweed. They are 100% natural, biodegradable and look like little blobs of hydrating goodness.

The Ooho pouch that will replace plastic bottles in Harrow. (Picture: Ella Byworth)

Sealed by a seaweed-based membrane, you simply bite into the pouch and drink the water inside. After you’ve finished, you can dispose of the packaging by eating it or binning it, where it will take four to six weeks to completely decompose – the same amount of time as a piece of fruit. Reusable water bottles will also be made available to runners. The ‘Ooho’ seaweed pouches are made by a start-up based in the UK, called Skipping Rocks Lab. The fledgling company is funded by the EU. According to the Skipping Rocks Lab website, the Ooho seaweed alternative is cheaper than plastic. The company says: ‘The consumption of non-renewable resources for single-use bottles and the amount of waste generated is profoundly unsustainable. ‘The aim of Ooho is to provide the convenience of plastic bottles while limiting the environmental impact.’

A running scooping up an Ooho pouch to rehydrate (Picture: ooho)

In April, London Marathon organisers announced that they would be trialling the use of compostable cups to try to cut down on the number of plastic containers used. However, a video surfaced that showed streets strewn with plastic waste after the race was over. The Harrow half marathon’s decision to go completely plastic free might be the only solution for ensuring that running events don’t generate this level of waste. Completing a physical challenge like a marathon need not come at the expense of the planet.


Photo: The Harrow half-marathon has replaced single use plastics with a seaweed solution (Picture: ooho)

View original article at: A half-marathon has banned plastic water bottles in favour of seaweed balls

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