It’s no surprise that getting fit is the most common New Year’s resolution. What about getting fit with less plastic? Have you tried that one yet? Well, this is the year to eliminate as much plastic as possible from your fitness routine.
When you stop to think about it, plastic is everywhere in the exercise world: clothing, shoes, water bottles, yoga mats, and other equipment. As it happens, improving sports performance typically correlates with plastic technology. Snowboards, for example, are made out of wood but coated with plastic resin to glide on the snow more effectively. Workout clothes are typically made with plastic materials because of their wicking properties that keep sweat away from skin and help athletes stay more comfortable and perform better.
But now fitness companies are beginning to think more sustainably and develop products either made from recycled plastic or that use alternative, non-plastic materials. Here are some easy ways that you can nix plastic from your fitness routine.
Nix Plastic and Opt For Glass or Stainless Steel Water Bottles
The simplest step you can take to reduce plastic at the gym is to invest in a reusable water bottle made from glass or stainless steel. Not only will you reduce plastic use, but you will also be choosing a healthier option that does not contain harmful chemicals like BPA. Be mindful not to choose a reusable water bottle made out of plastic. It may be a better option than throwaway plastic bottles, but it still doesn’t help with the overall plastic issue that we are trying to address.
Purchase Eco-Friendly Workout Clothes
Eco clothing is finally taking off. Now there are plenty of options to go green in the gym as well. Workout clothes made mostly from plastic materials have traditionally been associated with better performance. But now some companies are tapping into other types of materials and improving their characteristics when it comes to fitness so they are breathable and do not absorb perspiration. Look for clothes made from Merino wool, silk, organic cotton, hemp, linen. Lyocell, or Tencel, made from bamboo that does not contain any harmful chemicals. Some brands are also using recycled plastic to make the yarns that create their products.
If you are a swimmer, you can also now find plenty of plastic-free swimwear options. Conventional swimwear is made of new nylon, polyester, and spandex—all plastic. Several companies around the world are now designing eco swimwear using recycled fiber from trashed fishnets and plastic bottles.
Look For Innovative Shoe Brands
Sneakers are a tough one since there are endless brands. The majority on the market are made from a combination of plastic materials including ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), polyurethane, nylon, and other synthetic materials containing some form of plastic. Even the eyelets that the laces fit through are usually made out of plastic. However, there are a few innovators out there now manufacturing sneakers from recycled plastic materials like plastic bottles and fish nets. Examples include Adidas’ Parley line and New Balance’s newSKY shoes. If you do some research, you can definitely find a comfortable, durable pair of shoes for your workout that is also more eco-friendly.
Discover Green Fitness Equipment
This one is a bit challenging, but there are some ways to swap your fitness equipment from plastic to greener materials. Yoga mats are the perfect example. Most mats are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a toxic type of plastic that is a known carcinogen. That doesn’t sound very relaxing! Fortunately, you can now find mats made from a variety of natural materials like organic cotton, hemp, natural rubber, and jute. These are all free of harmful toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and smelly rubbers. Also, a quick Amazon search will result in other exercise equipment, such as jump ropes and floor mats, that are made from recycled materials.
Another easy way to nix plastic—and all types of waste—is to borrow fitness equipment from a friend or to buy used. So many people purchase dumbbells, yoga accessories, jump ropes, sporting equipment, and even large items like treadmills and indoor bikes with good intentions, only to hardly use them. Instead of purchasing brand new equipment, break the plastic production cycle and look for fitness equipment at garage sales, thrift stores, and online sites like eBay. You’ll also be saving a ton of cash!