Concerns over discarded Santa costumes after Glasgow fun run

Over 8,000 members of the public took part in Glasgow's annual Santa dash. Picture: Getty Images
Over 8,000 members of the public took part in Glasgow's annual Santa dash. Picture: Getty Images
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People taking part in an annual “Santa Dash” charity run through Glasgow city centre have been urged to think about its environmental impact, after discarded costumes were spotted on the streets.

The 5km fun run has been a regular fixture in the city’s calendar in the build-up to Christmas, with this year’s event taking place at the weekend.

But a leading environmental charity has raised concerns after pictures emerged showing runners’ Santa outfits discarded on the streets and piling up in bins after the event.

James Bonner, who posted the series of photographs on Twitter, said one young girl had been so confused by the overflowing festive refuse she asked her parents: “Why is Santa in a bin?”

Mr Bonner said: “There are really positive social benefits to something like the Santa Dash – supporting a charity, it’s an inclusive physical activity event for families, and it’s something really fun and visual. But we do have to think of the environmental and social impacts of this. At the very least, some form of recycling by the organisers or council.”

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The Zero Waste Scotland charity said the pictures suggested many runners were only using their Santa costumes once, urging them to reuse or recycle them.

A spokesman said: “The Santa Dash is a fantastic event for a great cause. But while Christmas is a wonderful time of year, it can also be a very wasteful period. We appreciate that after running 5km people are keen to get out of their running gear, but that shouldn’t mean throwing your Santa suit in the bin.”

Zero Waste Scotland said that runners should try to reuse costumes where possible, adding: “Next year, we’d encourage people to try and reuse their costume, whether that’s dressing up as Santa at home or by wearing it to their office Christmas party. If you can’t reuse your costume, then please make sure it is recycled by dropping it off at your local textile bank or household waste recycling centre.”

Glasgow City Council said it would look at how the event’s environmental impact could be reduced over the coming years, but stressed that people should not be deterred from taking part in the event.

This year runners were raising money for the Beatson Cancer Charity. Since its launch in 2006, the event has raised more than £250,000 for various good causes.

A council spokesman said: “It was unfortunate a minority of people discarded their Santa suits after the events, but all of these suits were collected quickly and then disposed of appropriately.

“We are always keen to reduce the environmental impact of our events wherever possible and will look at what can done differently.

“This year we ended the practice of handing out free water to Santa Dash participants, which reduced our use of plastic bottles by 95 per cent.

“Many participants already reuse or provide their own costumes and anyone wearing a Santa suit was guaranteed free bus travel, which helped to reduce car traffic in the city centre.”