In a bid to reduce unnecessary plastic wastes, runners at the London Marathon will now be handed seaweed pouches instead of water bottles.

Don’t worry. Participants won’t be running the entire race without a supply of water. At mile 32, they’ll be given the pouches filled with water to cool down.

Appeal for the marathon organizers to reduce the enormous use of plastic water bottles during the even have abounded in recent years, many asking for plastics to be banned altogether.

Introducing seaweed pouches is just one way the organizers hope to reduce plastic use. They aim to cut the number of plastic bottles by 200,000.

The Ooho seaweed capsules are made by a London-based startup Skipping Rocks Lab and are cheaper to produce than plastic.

If you don’t like the taste of seaweed, though, you shouldn’t be put off from signing up for the marathon—the thin membrane that forms the pod is edible and tasteless and won’t taste like seaweed at all.

Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez, one of the startup’s founders, said:

“What we use is the building blocks of seaweed. We remove all the green stuff and the smelly stuff.”

These pouches biodegrade within six weeks if they’re not eaten, which is a far cry from the 450 or more years it takes a plastic bottle to decompose.

The pods are meant for people on the move, such as runners and music festival attendees, and can be filled with various liquids.

Plastic Waste Flood

Skipping Rocks Lab is working to develop machines that can produce these capsules on a large scale, to lease them to companies that want to use them for packaging their drinks or other products.

By doing so, they’ll help solve one of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges—Plastic!

Recyclable and recycled

Seaweed pouches are just one way London Marathon organizers plan to make the events even more sustainable. They are committing to zero waste to landfill by December 2020 through improved procurement, maximizing reuse, and recycling.

The London Marathon director, Hugh Brasher, said in a statement:

“We know our participants share our passion and want us to take action. It is a huge challenge as we must balance providing proper runner welfare with reducing our environmental impact.”

“We can’t achieve everything in one event in one year, but the changes and the trials we’re introducing for this year have the potential to change how mass participation events are delivered in the future.”

“Everyone can make a difference: our participants, spectators, contractors, volunteers, and staff.”

This is an incredible initiative to reduce environmental pollution. Hopefully, other events will follow the London Marathon organizers’ lead, and plastic waste will be drastically reduced in the future.