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RideLondon to go single-use plastic bottle free in world first

Joe Robinson
17 Jul 2019

The UK's biggest cycling festival has teamed up with Thames Water to get rid of single-use plastic and improve the environment

While mass-participation sporting events, and in particular the 25,000 strong Prudential RideLondon sportive, are incredible feats of bringing people together to be healthy and active there can often be hidden damages.

Chief among them is that once the dust has settled and the participants, friends and family have cleared, thousands of plastic water bottles have been disregarded causing a giant clean up and more importantly, quite a nasty impact on the environment.

The RideLondon sportive has recognised this and has therefore teamed up with Thames Water to become the first mass participation sporting event to go entirely single-use plastic water bottle free.

In previous editions of the event, around 65,000 single-use plastic bottles had been given out to the 100,000 participants across the entire weekend of riding.

From this year, the entire event will scrap its use of single-use plastic bottle for riders, instead using tanks containing water across the various refuelling hubs on the course.

Thames Water will also fit drinking fountains at the FreeCycle Festival and RideLondon Cycling Show and registration arena to encourage people into using their own refillable bottles.

In a push to make the UK's biggest cycling festival more sustainable, Steve Spencer of Thames Water spoke of how its partnership with Thames Water will help change the culture around reusable bottles.

'London’s tap water is among the best in the world and through our partnership with Prudential RideLondon we are actively tackling plastic waste by providing tap water along the route,' Spencer said.

'Our aim is to inspire even more people to refill with tap water on the go. By championing tap water and inspiring a refill culture, together we can help reduce plastic waste and care for London and our planet.'

Director of RideLondon Hugh Brasher also spoke on the collaboration and how it can change the environmental footprint of the cycling festival for the better.

'We are delighted to be partnering with Thames Water and we believe this makes Prudential RideLondon the largest mass participation event to be single-use plastic water bottle free,' said Spencer.

'Cyclists have long championed a refill culture and Prudential RideLondon and the partnership with Thames Water can inspire more people to refill and radically reduce the number of single-use plastic water bottles used not just on event weekend but every day.'

It is part of a wider move from RideLondon to reduce its environmental impact which will also cut the use of goody bags at the end of the race, digitalise all registration details and create 'green zones' for litter dropping during the professional race.

Perhaps this year, those 'racing' the sportive will also take the time to put their used gel wrappers back in their jersey pockets rather than discarding them in Richmond Park and the Surrey countryside. A minority of participants who have a large unwanted impact on the areas the ride travels through.

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