Society

Half-marathon in UK bans plastic water bottles

Ooho water Twitter

Ooho water Twitter

Organizers of the 13.1-mile marathon, which is set to take place this Sunday, September 16, decided that no single-use plastic water bottles will be allowed. Instead, runners will be handed Ooho pouches for hydration at three different stations along the route. These are small clear bags made from a seaweed-based membrane (brown algae and calcium chloride) and filled with filtered water. You nip the corner and drink the contents, or ingest the whole thing, as it's entirely biodegradable and safe.

It is a clever invention that's remarkably simple and cheap to make. Ooho has won awards for design and environmental technology, and surpassed its fundraising goals in the early stages of development. It's an idea that could make a real difference in the fight against superfluous plastic waste, which is awesome.

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 official directions on the Harrow Marathon site say that runners can either "swallow the sachets as they are edible or simply throw them away – our volunteers will sweep them up – or they will degrade in a few weeks. The choice is yours." This is an oddly nonchalant attitude to littering, even if a product is biodegradable within 4-6 weeks.

Still, it's good to see the public pushback against plastic water bottles and events organizers taking it seriously. Ooho pouches will also feature at the Richmond marathon and a Tough Mudder in West Sussex at the end of September.

Ooho water Twitter

Ooho water Twitter

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