We know deep inside us that something isn’t right when we see heartbreaking videos of trash-filled oceans and landfills, and dying marine animals with plastic filled-stomachs. Plastic pollution is everywhere, and it’s out of control. The main culprit behind it: single-use plastic.
Plastic is sneaky, it creeps into almost every aspect of our lives. And our fitness regimes fall prey to it as well.
A fit lifestyle that adds to our well being but subtracts from our surroundings is counter-intuitive, because ultimately it harms us in return. Hidden dangers such as BPA-tainted food and microplastics in our water sources and seafood are already in our lives without us noticing it. So how can we have less of a harmful impact on the environment in our fitness regimes? Go beyond bringing your own water bottle to the gym, here’s 5 more you can try!
#1 Go Clean On Your Smoothies
Those yummy protein-packed smoothies are the cherry on top of any workout. Your water tumbler isn’t limited to just water though, bring it to the smoothie bar and get it straight into your tumblers. Skip the plastic cups and straws all together!
If you forget your bottle, skip the plastic lid and the straw and chug it straight from the cup they give you or get it in a glass as a dining-in option.
Alternatively, make your own at home, throw it into an insulated tumbler and bring it with you. More bang for buck and a lot less trash!
#2 Buy Less Fitness Apparel
Yikes, dare I say it? We all love our athleisure wear and you’d be hardpressed to find a fitness enthusiast without a cupboard stuffed with athletic wear. The question here is, do we need so many? The fashion industry is a major polluter worldwide, and we’ve been flooded with more and more fast fashion brands coming up with activewear. Most of them are made out of polyester, great for wicking sweat but not great for the environment.
Be mindful with your purchases, alternate your outfits, extend their lifespan by taking care of them well, and fix them if there are small rips. The earth and your wallet will thank you, and your #OOTD shots won’t suffer, promise. You’d be surprised how people won’t notice!
#3 Takeaway Your Favourite Workout Snacks Without Packaging
Those yummy snacks lovingly made locally for the fitness junkie can be hard to resist. What we do want to resist, is the crazy amount of plastic and packaging around it. All of that winds up in the trash and then in a landfill. But we can always find a way to change that.
A lot of health snacks are usually local fledgling businesses that would be happy to accommodate requests, especially ones that save on packaging (which costs them money!). Don’t be shy to slide into their DMs on Instagram or send in an email to request your order package free. You can try this by reusing your own container to pack their goodies in-store or at fitness centre pick-ups, or ask if they accept their containers back for reuse.
#4 Cut Your Carbon Footprint
The easiest way to save on our travel footprint is to work out at home; with tons of great apps, fitness guides and Youtube workout playlists to keep us motivated , we are spoilt for choice.
The next best is to start a workout from your home or workplace as the starting point, like embarking on a trail run.
If classes or a full-fledged fitness center is your jam, find one close to where you’re going to be. Gyms and fitness studios have popped up in all corners of the city and the Guavapass app is a perfect way to optimise your commute. Find the closest class to your last meeting, your next dinner spot, etc. so that you’re not commuting half an hour to catch a class. Or better yet, book a class together with a friend and carpool.
#5 Say No To Excess Reusable Plastic Bottles
Does this sound familiar? A cupboard jam packed with free reusable bottles from every protein powder you ever bought, every $XX you spent on active wear, and every fitness event you’ve ever attended. Some of them we may use half-heartedly for a week before we switch to the next one. Even as we quit the plastic single-use PET bottles, we start to notice that reusable plastic bottles have invaded our lives instead.
The world is obsessed with free gifts. But it is never truly free, the environmental cost behind a plastic reusable bottle is painful though we may not see it. Plus, quite often these free branded bottles usually have BPA in them which can seep into our water.
Guess what, we can actually REFUSE the bottle in the first place. Politely decline the next time someone hands you one, even if its free. Let’s be honest, do we actually need it? Most of us already have our favourite ‘good’ bottle
Who knew that so much plastic crept into something as life-sustaining as our fitness regime?
In the end, it isn’t about vilifying the use of plastic, it’s a shift to being more conscious in our habits. Just like a bad habit, plastic can easily creep in if we don’t watch out for it. Small steps will accumulate into significant change, and you’ll be down a more earth-friendly road to health and wellness in no time.
This article was also featured on Guavapass’s website with myself as a guest author.