The thousands of empty plastic water bottles that normally end up strewn along the route of the Waterside Half Marathon will this year be collected and used to create a unique art installation for Derry's Hallowe'en celebrations.
The innovation is part of Derry City and Strabane District Council's move towards a Zero Waste Strategy.
Runners taking part in the 2018 Waterside Half Marathon this weekend have been encouraged to help with the post event clean up by squeezing, squashing and binning their used water bottles.
Over 2,000 runners are expected to take part in Sunday’s race and the Council has introduced a number of innovative eco-initiatives to help make the event more environmentally friendly.
Water stations along the route will be using smaller water bottles this year while recycle bins will be located 150-200 metres after each station for runners to discard the bottles which will be reused in art installations during this year’s Halloween celebrations.
Waste Services Manager at the Council, Nicola McCool, said runners’ co-operation in emptying their bottles will significantly help the Cleansing department’s post event operation.
“We have taken a number of steps to ensure the plastic water bottles being used for Sunday’s race are reduced, reused and recycled but we are appealing to runners to make a conscious effort too to empty and squash your bottles before using the bins provided to dispose of them,” she said.
“Cleaning up the empty bottles from the race route and emptying any unused water is a time consuming process for our cleansing and recycling teams so we would appreciate everyone’s co-operation.
“In a race of this scale there will be thousands of water bottles used and there are exciting plans to use the empty bottles from Sunday as part of an art installation at this year’s Halloween celebrations.”
Other eco-initiatives in Sunday’s race include paperless registrations and instructions, recyclable race pack bags and a Recycled Arts and Crafts workshop for kids.
Event organisers will also position Recycling Advert walkers around the course who will engage with members of the public on how they can apply the principles of recycling in their everyday lives.
The project is part of Council’s wider Zero Waste Strategy which has the ultimate aim of making the City and District a sustainable region.
The Waterside Half Marathon is one of the longest running athletics events in Ireland with a scenic route that takes in both sides of the River Foyle, passing many of the city’s historic landmarks including its famous walls and the Guildhall.
The 13.1 mile course has runner, wheelchair and three person relay categories and is open to athletes of all levels and abilities and full event details are available at www.derrystrabane.com/whm.