London Marathon runners ditch 18.9 tonnes of clothing

A record 18.9 tonnes of discarded clothing has been collected by Salvation Army volunteers and helpers at this year’s London Marathon and will now be resold, reused or recycled.

The discarded clothes, abandoned by runners before the start line, were transported to The Salvation Army’s processing centre in the East Midlands for sorting. Profits from their resale, reuse or recycling by the Salvation Army Trading Company will support the charity’s work.

The scheme is an ongoing partnership between London Marathon Events (LME) and the charity. It is one of LME’s new sustainability initiatives for this year, aimed at reducing the environmental impact of its events, lowering carbon emissions and waste and improving circularity.

LME is aiming to become net zero by 2030 and to remove more carbon than it emits across operations by the end of 2025. Previously, London Marathon had a 2040 net zero target.

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The Salvation Army’s most recent sustainability report showed a 12% year-on-year drop in carbon emissions and the reuse of around 250 million items annually.

Kate Chapman, head of sustainability at LME, said: “The Salvation Army did a fantastic job at this year’s TCS London Marathon collecting a record 18.9 tonnes of clothing from the start. They were organised and with their enthusiastic team of helpers ensured that all the unwanted clothing from participants was collected quickly.”

She said the two organisations would work together on future events.

The Salvation Army team will also collect clothes from a number of other events this year including Ford RideLondon on Sunday 26 May, The Big Half on 1 September, The Vitality London 10,000 on 22 September and The Royal Parks Half on 13 October.

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