Kickstart: Running a cleaner race

For runners, the crisp days of autumn mean one thing: It’s marathon season.Because of rescheduling and postponed races from earlier in the year, it’s also going to be a very busy season. All five of the most prestigious marathons of the year — Berlin, London, Boston, Tokyo and New York — are taking place within a seven-week period. Other big races, such as those in Chicago, Paris, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Los Angeles, are squeezing into those same weeks.All of that means it’s also time for news stories and comments about the sustainability of big sporting events. In the United Kingdom, for instance, the Environment Agency has suggested that runners who litter during a race should be disqualified.Make no mistake, a lot of single-use plastics are used at races. Most marathons use paper cups at water stops, but the coated paper isn’t recyclable. Some of the big events hand out bottles at water stops, which are better for making sure the water is safe, but wasteful for runners who are only taking a few sips, then tossing the rest away, even if the race has a recycling system in place.But race organizers are trying to improve. Prior to the Oct. 3 London Marathon, organizers encouraged runners to carry their own drinks and that could carry bottles, while some runners wore running vests that could carry bottles and cope with trash.The makers of , the thin emergency blanket made of polyethylene film, have been working with Trex for the past 10 years to collect and recycle them into composite wood and decks.While some items may not actually be recyclable, no matter what companies may claim (I’m looking at you, sticky energy gels, with your flexible packaging), it is possible to run cleaner races. But hopefully they won’t all be at the same time next year. Meanwhile, Lubrizol Corp. has a proposal for an all-thermoplastic polyurethane running shoe that would be easy to recycle once they’ve run their last race.The uses its Esdex TPU yarns for the shoe upper, BounCellX TPU foam and Estane TRX TPU as an alternative for rubber soles.While the prototype doesn’t have any shoe company names attached to it, Lubrizol says the shoes are based on “multiyear partnerships” with established athletic companies.Lubrizol isn’t the only materials company looking at making monomaterial running shoes. BASF SE also has been investing in research and development for shoes using its polyurethane blends.However, the top-of-the-line running shoes now being sold use a carbon-fiber plate in the midsole, so an all-TPU shoe may not be what the market is looking for at the moment. Röchling Group is continuing to invest in health care, unveiling a new collaboration with Trendlines Innovation Labs to “provide a one-stop shop for medical device innovation, development and manufacturing.”Germany-based Röchling was known more for its work as an auto supplier when it established a medical division in 2016. In North America, two of its three injection molding plants — in Rochester, N.Y., and Denver, Pa. — serve the health care industry while Silao, Mexico, is focused on auto parts. Trendlines, based in Israel, develops new products for a range of end markets.Working together, Trendlines can invent and develop products while Röchling brings its expertise in molding complex parts.”The parties will expand and enhance the value proposition and offering of complete innovation, product development and manufacturing solutions to the health care industry, broadening their individual and joint endeavors,” the companies said in .   Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you’d like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at Please enter a valid email address.Please enter your email address.Please verify captcha.Please select at least one newsletter to subscribe. Staying current is easy with Plastics News delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge. Subscribe to Plastics News Plastics News covers the business of the global plastics industry. We report news, gather data and deliver timely information that provides our readers with a competitive advantage.Customer Service:

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