With environmental issues becoming an increasingly hot topic, introducing small sustainable solutions to everyday life is top of mind for most of us. However, sometimes it is difficult to know the best way to incorporate changes into our day-to-day lives and reduce our carbon footprint.
Green water (not the colour, the ethos)
Most of us are aware of the damage single-use plastic has on the planet. Despite this, the average person uses 150 bottles per year. These bottles, sometimes used for only a few minutes, can end up in the sea and be ingested by sea life. As well as damaging and polluting the planet, this plastic can re-enter our systems through eating seafood. Swapping these disposable bottles for sustainable containers will improve both the earth and your health.
There are several fitting substitutes that could work instead. A popular alternative to plastic is stainless steel. You could try Red Originals insulated drinks bottle (£25*) or One Green Bottles (prices from £11*) that can be personalised. As well as being recyclable when they come to the end of their use, many bottles are insulated to keep your water cool and are lightweight enough to be used on the go.
If you aren’t a fan of stainless-steel bottles, maybe a good old-fashioned glass bottle will fit the bill. Trouva chic memo bottles (£29.95*) or MIU COLOR signature droplet design glass and silicone bottle (£8.99*). Don’t worry though, they aren’t as fragile as they sound. Many have silicone sleeves to ensure they stand up to any knocks and bashes they get in your bag.
Less conventional materials include bamboo (renewable) and 100% sugar cane (carbon negative). Try this Not On The Highstreet personalised bamboo water bottle (£18*) or Wearth London’s sustainable bamboo water bottle (£20* - get 10% off by using code EMDWEARTH10 at checkout) or Yuhme’s sugar cane (£24*) bottle that makes keep the planet healthy extra sweet.
Whichever eco-friendly bottle you choose, make sure that it is BPA free. Happy shopping!
As gym goers become even more health and environmentally conscious, there are a handful of gyms in the UK providing a place that participants can become a fitness powerhouse (literally). By harnessing the energy used on gym equipment -be it treadmills or exercise bikes - the energy expelled by participants will create electricity, which will ultimately be used to run those same machines.
Yoga and Pilates are a fantastic way to find inner zen and connect with your mind, body, and spirit as well as the world around us. Both are great for beginners as there is a low barrier to entry, all you need is the right attitude and a mat. However, rather surprisingly, many yoga and Pilates mats contain harmful toxins that aren’t kind to the planet (they end up in landfill and can release harmful chemicals as they degrade) or our bodies. If you are feeling guilty about those single-use bottles ending up in the ocean these mats are made from no less than eight recycled bottles. That’s eight less in the sea.
Cork isn't just the barrier between you and your wine, it is a natural material that is increasingly being used to create mats and accessories like yoga blocks. As the tree doesn’t need to be cut down in order to harvest usable cork, it is a brilliant renewable resource. Cork boasts great grip to support your poses and has anti-bacterial properties too. You could try Cork Space’s Pro Cork yoga mat (£65*) or Cork Yogis have mats (from £65*) which help to give young women and girls in India who have been trafficked, find work through the Destiny Reflection Foundation.
Alternatively, there are several eco-friendly materials that yoga and Pilates mats can be made from; Jute is one of them. This sustainable plant grown in South East Asia can be used to make an environmental resin. It is great for use in Pilates mats as it is lightweight and particularly good for hot forms of yoga due to its non-slip and anti-microbial properties. You could try the ecoYoga Jute Mat (£45* from Yoga Matters) or Carrot Banana Peach’s Jute mat (£35* and get 10% off by using this code NM0CVR4BBS5Y).
Recyclable rubber mats, made by harvesting sustainable tree rubber, are a great alternative to mass-produced mats. They are durable and provide comparable grip and cushioning. This biodegradable Manduka eKO natural rubber mat (£45*) is a great option or NJEast Coasters recycled rubber and cellular vinyl mat (£65.44*). However, be warned, those with a latex allergy should avoid these mats as they may aggravate an allergy.
Hemp mats are another natural option as the plants can grow in a variety of climates, with little need for pesticides. This fabric has a soft texture, absorbs moisture easily and can be thrown in the washing machine, making them more hygienic than many other types of mat. This Trinity Hemp Yoga mat is available for £79.30*.
Similarly to yoga and Pilates mats, there’s a new world of sustainable materials making our gym towels more planet-friendly. Organic cotton, bamboo, and those made from COCONA (derived from coconut shells) are all fantastic ways to reduce synthetic materials getting into the sea during the washing process.
Clean up your workout
We all know that fitness equipment, gym towels and clothing get sweaty. So, to keep your exercise routine green post workout, cleaning these will need to be gentle. Use eco-friendly washing powder, reduce the temperature to 30-degrees, make sure there is a full load and always air-dry washing as best practice.
Clean your mat using an all-natural recipe of three drops tea tree oil, two drops peppermint and lavender oils mixed with distilled water or as above if it is machine washable.
You can also lower your water waste by decreasing your shower time. Data shows that on average an eight-minute shower uses 62 gallons of water. Cutting a shower down to five minutes can greatly reduce how much water is used. A quick way to lessen water consumption is to turn off the water when lathering your hair (with eco-friendly shampoo of course) and turning back on to wash out your products.
Look great whilst you change the world
Looking good is the key to feeling great. However, our fast fashion society is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, with data showing that the fashion industry is having a bigger negative impact on the climate than air and sea travel. Many items end up in landfill and those that are recycled end up being difficult to reuse due to the strain of separating mixed/blended textiles or being unable to be recoloured due to existing strong dye from their first processing.
Even with the above consideration, some brands are trailblazing by using recycled material to create fab fitness wear. Others are using sustainable bamboo or natural fibres to create their goods with smaller, made to order, local manufacturing reducing waste.
Many trainer brands are taking the first step to create greener footwear. Nike, New Balance, and Adidas are just some of the brands using recycled bottles rescued from oceans and sustainable materials to create stylish activewear that is kind to the earth. Check out Addidas’ Parley trainers made up of at least 75% upcycled plastic rubbish. These are produced in a low energy, low water usage manufacturing process they are kind to the ocean without compromising performance.
Swimwear is largely made from synthetic materials like nylon and polyester, but the tide is turning, with many brands now harnessing the power of recycling. By repurposing materials like plastic bottles, recovered fishing nets (nearly 640,000 tons are left in the ocean every year), industrial fabric scraps and even carpet (although you wouldn’t guess it), these sustainable swimsuits look amazing whilst saving the planet.
You’ll be the envy of your group exercise class when you turn up in your world-saving workout gear. Find a class near you now today, click here.
*prices correct at the time of publication