With the growing number of environmentally friendly options available to play green, there's no need to sacrifice style, function or fun to do your part toward creating a greener planet.
Think about the amount of sports equipment currently in circulation: balls, helmets, pads, racquets and so many others. They're all necessary but not easily recycled. Traditional products tend to be made from materials that are actually harmful to the environment, such as polyurethane, fiberglass and plastic. While progress in the area of eco-friendly sports equipment is slower than in other areas, there are great alternatives.
Fair Trade Sports has a line of sports balls for soccer, football, basketball and more. Their signature product is its FSC-certified soccer ball, which uses rubber sourced from pesticide-free, sustainable rubber plantations. If the pace of yoga is more your style, Gaiam has eco-friendly yoga mats in beautiful colors and patterns that allow you to bring out your unique environmental Zen.
The athletic shoe industry has made serious strides -- pun intended -- with sustainability-driven sneaker innovations and commitment to environmentally friendly products. Back in 2008, Brooks Sports launched its first line of running shoes (BioMoGo) with a rapidly biodegradable midsole that reduces landfill waste. The company has since included water-based adhesives and 100 percent recycled packaging. Once you're done with your sneakers, donate your used running shoes to a recycling program, such as Nike's Reuse A Shoe, which grinds used athletic shoes to be used again for new tracks, basketball courts and playgrounds.
Whether you're looking for loungewear or high-performance sports bras, companies are embracing the environmental challenge with products that allow you to get a little green into your workouts. Clothes made from organic and recycled fibers are available from many manufacturers and are found everywhere from exclusive boutiques to big-box retailers. Popular Kalyx sports bras are made from products of the recycling process that have been knitted into lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics that any woman (like Jennifer Aniston, to name one) can appreciate. Champion's Eco Line includes Eco Fleece, which is made with fibers from recycled plastic bottles; the resulting fabric keeps you comfortable while reducing landfill waste. Sustainable team apparel was highlighted with Nike's World Cup 2010 team kits, for which distinctive jerseys (for eight different national teams, including Brazil, Portugal and the Netherlands) were made entirely from recycled polyester. Approximately eight recycled water bottles were used to make each jersey.
Many well-known companies are doing their part to make the world a little greener, making it easier for you to do yours and maintain your eco-friendly lifestyle.
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