5 Ways To Be A Green Athlete

Hockey Goalie Water Bottle

Reusable water bottles both on and off the ice, field, and court are essential to being a “green” athlete – Photo by Kelsey Vermeersch/ CKSN.ca

Let’s face it, we’re living in a time where we need to consider how our every move impacts our climate. Those moves include on the rink, field, court, course, or in the pool for athletes.

Here are 5 ways athletes can be more green.

1. Carpool To Games And Practices

Sports families do a lot of driving. Carpooling can significantly reduce carbon emissions and Greenhouse Gas emissions. Pick up a friend, pick up half the team, and plan to carpool. It’s a great team building activity, and it’s better for our environment. Better yet, if you’re just down the road from the field, or gymnasium, why not walk as part of your warm up and cool down?

2. Don’t Throw Out Your Old Equipment

Listen, we get it, some of your equipment is disgusting. But for the most part, young athletes simply outgrow their equipment. Or perhaps you tried a new sport, bought all the gear, and it just wasn’t for you. Don’t throw it away. That’s just filling a landfill. Remember the 3 R’s? Well, reducing and reusing are the most important. So don’t buy something you don’t need just because the new gear is “cooler.” And don’t throw out your old bats, gloves, skates, helmets, sticks, rackets, and pads. Donate them to one of the many local stores who will accept this equipment, or bring them to a local sports store like Play it Again, or Chatham Pro Shop who will sell some, if not all, of your used goods. Heck, post it on Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, or one of the dozens of other online markets. Who knows, you might even make back a few bucks. That equipment wasn’t cheap after all.

3. Find Alternative Proteins To Meat In Your Diet

Society’s demand for meat is one of the main contributors to climate change and global warming. The farming of meat requires massive amounts of deforested land, energy, and water to produce meat, and the processing of livestock causes large amounts of pollution each year. If we moved some of our protein consumption, which is ever so important for the muscle growth and repair of athletes, to plant based protein, we’d be making a positive change for our environment.

4. Bring A Reusable Water Bottle Everywhere (even for sports drinks)

Let’s face is, plastic water bottles were one of the most destructive, and worst inventions in history…at least the non-reusable type. If you’re at the field, gym, training, or in the arena, ditch the Gatorade and Powerade bottles, and ditch the throw away water bottles. Buy powders for your sports drinks (although drinking water is still the best for you) and refill and reuse a bottle. Same goes for a water bottle, fill and refill that bottle. If you’re a coach, ordering a team set of bottles can stop those do-gooder, well intentioned parents from showing up at the bus or field or rink with a case of water or Gatorade. That plastic is destined for a landfill, or our waterways, and will long outlive the grandkids of your grandkids.

While we’re on this one, spectators, plan ahead and bring your own coffee mug to avoid the single use plastics and styrofoam so many arenas rely on. And if you’re brave enough, write a letter to your local community asking them to ban these products from the rink.

5. Hang It Up

No, we don’t mean retire. We mean hang up your uniform, equipment, and athletic clothing after you wash it. Oh, and when you wash it, use cold or warm settings, and find an eco-friendly detergent…one that comes in a recyclable or biodegradable container. Dryers are energy hogs, so plan ahead and hang up your equipment and clothing to dry. Athletes get sweaty and stinky, so doing additional loads of laundry is inevitable. That means, we should consider the extra water, and electricity we’re using every day to keep our athletes clean and clear of odour and bacteria. Hang it up. Let the sun do it’s magic. You might even find a lesson or two for your kids in this. It’s an extra task to keep that cell phone out of their hands. They don’t do their chore? That’s going to be one wet jersey come game time, which luckily, they’ll dry out as they start running or skating.

Have other ideas for how athletes can become more green? Let us know!

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