When marathoners reach Mile 23 of their grueling 26.2-mile (42.2-km) race, they’re bound to need a bit of water, or a swig of an energy drink, in order to prepare for their final push to the finish line. Usually, runners are handed bottled water, but at the 2019 London Marathon, race organizers provided runners with edible drink capsules made from seaweed. It was the largest use of the edible (and tasteless) Ooho capsules, and organizers were able to reduce the use of traditional plastic bottles by about 23 percent.
Having a bite of water:
- The pods, somewhat similar to what you might use to add detergent in a washing machine, can be eaten whole, or you can bite into them to release the liquid. Organizers handed out 30,000 pods to the London runners.
- The capsules are made from a seaweed-based substance that will naturally decompose in four to six weeks if discarded instead of being eaten. That’s about how long it takes for a piece of fruit to decompose.
- A 2017 study published in the journal Science Advances found that only 9 percent of plastic ever gets recycled. About 79 percent of all plastic ends up in landfills, or finds its way into the oceans.