Wed. Sep 23rd, 2020

Comrades to reduce carbon footprint by turning IV bags into school shoes

Comrades MarathonA new recycling initiative aims to offset the huge amount of waste generated by the Comrades Marathon.

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Organizers of the Comrades Marathon will seek to offset the massive amounts of plastic waste the race generates by recycling used IV bags to make school shoes.

The bags, used to rehydrate runners who undertake the gruelling Ultra Marathon, will find their way onto the feet of underprivileged children in an initiative supported by pharmaceutical company Adcock Ingram, and healthcare group Netcare.

Used drip bags will be collected in containers provided by Adcock Ingram Critical Care instead of being discarded and destroyed as medical waste as is usually the case.

The bags are made of non-toxic PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and will only be used if they have not been contaminated.

Non-profit organization ‘My Walk’ will distribute the shoes to some of the thousands of South African children who have to endure long walks to school barefoot in the bitter cold of winter. The shoes will not only keep children’s feet warm as they attend school but help to boost self esteem and improve attendance.

My Walk also aims provide jobs through the recycling process and their enterprise development programme.

Comrades Medical Convenor, Dr Jeremy Boulter told IOL: “This is so well aligned with the CMA’s strategic focus of sustainability and environmental responsibility. We are pleased to be partnering with Adcock Ingram and Netcare to give renewed impetus to recycling initiatives and reduce our carbon footprint one day at a time”

The My Walk project gathers used IV bags from Netcare hospitals throughout the year having kicked off in 2018.

“We are pleased that this initiative is also very much in line with preserving our environment by reducing the amount of waste we send to landfill,” said Colin Sheen, Managing Director, Adcock Ingram Critical Care. 

 “Through the partnership, My Walk was able to recover more than 14,000 kilograms of used non-contaminated and non-hazardous IV bags from participating Netcare hospitals during the course of 2018.  Although this project is still in its infancy, it is gaining a tremendous amount of support, and we are grateful to the Comrades Marathon team for affording us this opportunity to ‘Walk’ together with them on their journey.  Adcock Ingram Critical Care is also the proud sponsor of the Intravenous Fluids that provide life sustaining liquids to athletes.”

The 2019 Comrades Ultra Marathon is an ‘up run’ that will start in Durban in the early hours on 9 June and finish at Harry Gwala stadium in Pietermaritzburg. The race will be broadcast live on SABC TV.

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