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Sustainability tips for charities

Sustainable etiquette for charities on Marathon Day

Read our top tips on how charities can support and celebrate participants sustainably at the TCS London Marathon.

1. Stand out – but with a small footprint

  • Banners, flags, signs and fence scrim all help make your presence known but can have a significant environmental impact. Try not to put dates on anything so they can be reused again and again. Avoid using items made from PVC and vinyl if you can.


2. Prioritise eco materials

  • If you're considering giveaways, please think about the environmental impacts of these items. Those that are made from recycled material and can be reused and recycled are preferable – for example, you could replace inflatable plastic clappers with carboard alternatives.
  • When selecting runner T-shirts, consider ones made from recycled or lower impact materials such as bamboo and think about whether they can be repurposed after the event. Also, look out for certified materials like those from the Better Cotton Initiative.


3. Replace giveaways with experiences

  • Instead of handing out single-use plastic-wrapped items to charity runners, consider pampering them with a post-event massage, take a great photo of them or treat them to a hot drink or meal. Make memories, not rubbish!


4. Reuse your support items

  • Have a dedicated box for spectators to pick up cheer materials and drop them off at the end of the event so they can be reused. Make sure these items are undated and not event specific.


5. Spread the word on waste

  • Let’s keep London’s streets clean! Encourage responsible behaviour from participants and ask them to dispose of all waste appropriately in the correct bin. Drop zones for waste will be located after every drink station along the course, so make sure your participants drink, drain and drop!


6. Help us make a difference

  • At London Marathon Events we’re trialling lots of ways to reduce our environmental impact. Encourage your participants to run with a bottle belt or dispose of any old clothes they may bring with them at a clothing drop point near the Start Line. This clothing will then be sent off and reused or recycled where possible.


7. Make some sustainable noise

  • Show your charity runners some love by ditching the single-use plastic and making noise with drums, whistles, cardboard clappers and reusable signs and banners featuring your charity name and logo. Try to avoid balloons, too – how about blowing bubbles instead?


8. Involve family and friends

  • Ask supporters to bring a reusable water bottle or coffee cup with them which they can refill – the Refill app can help with this. Encourage them to travel by public transport as well.