Thousands of plastic water bottles saved at Prudential RideLondon

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RideLondon drinks hub

More than 87,000 litres of tap water were served up to participants at this year’s Prudential RideLondon as it bids to become the largest mass participation cycling event to be single-use plastic water bottle free.

Over the weekend of August 3-4, around 250 volunteers, known as “Veloteers”, including a group from Thames Water, refilled drinks bottles at 12 drinks stations along the route helping more than 30,000 cyclists stay hydrated. The volunteers served tap water from large bowsers and used jugs to top-up the reusable bottles to make the refilling process as speedy a possible for those in a hurry to get back on their bikes. A further 10,000 bottles were filled up at Saturday’s Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle from Thames Water’s self-service water fountains which were installed at five Festival Zones around the route, while the roll out of 100 new permanent fountains across London, which began last month, means cyclists will have access to free tap water across the capital.

At last year’s Prudential RideLondon event, more than 65,000 single-use plastic bottles were handed out.

Becky Johnson from Thames Water’s event team said: “Refilling with our world-class tap water is the clear alternative to drinking bottled water, preventing mountains of pointless plastic waste from piling up. We’re proud to be working with Prudential RideLondon to make this the largest mass participation cycling event to become single-use plastic water bottle free.”

Plastic bottles make up 10 per cent of all litter found in the River Thames and can take between 500 and 1,000 years to break down*. It is estimated the average Londoner buys more than three plastic water bottles every week,** equating to 175 a year. In an independent taste test carried out earlier this year, many consumers were unable to tell the difference between Thames Water’s tap water and bottled water, with the latter on average being 500 times more expensive.

  • *Plastic bottles make up 10 per cent of all litter found in the River Thames. (Source: Thames21)
  • **The average Londoner buys more than three plastic water bottles every week, which is 175 bottles a year – and over 40 per cent aren’t recycled. (Source: RecycleNow).