Most gyms and fitness equipment are far from ecologically sound. Television units on ellipticals play whether or not the elliptical is in use. Power usage for the ellipticals and treadmills are huge. Shoes and equipment are made from petroleum, plastic, and other synthetic compounds. New products with biodegradable and have more natural sources are arriving.
Sneakers have a large environmental impact with plastic, leather, and petroleum sources. Worse is that fitness buffs use them so heavily that it’s easy to wear a pair out in a few months and add them to overflowing landfills. Fortunately shoe companies are stepping up their game by introducing sneakers with more recycled and biodegradable parts. The Keen Coronado Lace Shoe is made from cork and canvas and donates $1 to the National Wildlife Federation for each pair of kids shoes sold. New Balance now offers the New Balance 1224 with a liner that is made from coconut shells. Adidas uses hemp in the adi Grün series and the Brook Trance 8 for running claims to use a nontoxic substance in the sole that breaks down that sole, decreasing mass in landfills. For the sneaker snob, Veja offers exclusive productions runs of 500 sneakers made with Amazonian wild latex and organic cotton grown by small producers in North-eastern Brazil (Do they contribute to deforestation?).
Bottled water costs more than gasoline on average and is extremely wasteful. Common tap water in the U.S. is tested frequently for safety and flavor. Tap water is safe and pleasant. Bottled water is often tap water that has been trucked all over the world. Sometimes it is moved from countries that lack adequate sanitation and drinking sources. Discarded water bottles hit our landfills, where they require generations to degrade. Plastic bottles also include chemicals that can affect human hormones. Plastic is petroleum-based and the US wastes 1.5 million barrels of oil per year producing plastic water bottles.
Instead of buying bottled water, buy a bottle and reuse it. Kleen Kanteen offers a metal bottle that is completely recyclable and is free from plastic. BioGreen bottles are plastic bottles, but they’re 100% biodegradable, recyclable and reusable. On the positive reusable plastic bottles are long lasting and are not designed to join the trash heap when empty.
With a little planning and some help from manufacturers, fitness can be more environmentally friendly. Changing just a couple products like your water bottle and your sneaker can improve the earth while you get fit. We only have one body and one earth so let’s care for both simultaneously.