One of my friends was reading a book about sustainability and in it, the author argued that runners are contributing to the demise of our environment by running. Because when you run, the plastic breaks down on the roads. When the plastic breaks down, it washes away into the dirt, streams, etc. And when that happens, it can have a negative impact on our lives. <— future directv commercial right there

While I think that is a little excessive, I do think that there are other ways that runners can contribute to the environment and be greener. We spend a lot of time out in nature, more so than a lot of other people, and because of that, I think we naturally have more respect for our planet. 



Here are five tips to help you be greener and be nicer to Mother Nature:



1. Use reusable bottles. Instead of relying on plastic bottles to get your water intake (both while you are and aren’t running), use reusable bottles. Carry it with you throughout the day. The U.S. plastic bottle recycling rate is less than 30 percent—so less than one-third of all plastic bottles get recycled. Most people don’t think about what happens to plastic bottles after you recycle them. So Repreve is on a mission to get the word out: Just recycle more. And buy REPREVE  products.

I absolutely love this water bottle from Nalgene:


2. Don’t contribute to the problem! Meaning don’t litter… when you take gels on a long run, find a trash can on your route where you can toss the packaging or put them in your pocket. I always stick mine in my Fuel Belt which sometimes means a sticky mess, but I would rather have that than know I am a litter bug.

In races, I try to hit the garbage cans but when it comes to mile 17, this is easier said than done. BUT knowing that there are all those awesome volunteers with those ginormous rakes to rake up the trash makes me feel not so bad for missing it. 


3. Recycle your shoes. Once you are done with your running shoes, there are several things that you can do with them. If they aren’t in too bad of shape, you can take them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army for them to give/sell to a person in need. Recycled Runners hosts a shoe recycling directory where you can find drop-off areas in your region to dispose of your old shoes. The group will donate them to someone in need or convert it into something else that is useful in the community, like a rubber track. 

There is also KindRunner. They have a program where when you order some new shoes, you can send back your old ones to get “kindrunner cash” that can be used on your next purchase of running shoes (or anything else in their store).



Pretty cool idea!


4. Pick up trash as you go. This is a cool idea that one runner — Recycling Runner — does every time he goes running. He will pick up recyclables along the way and clean up the roadside. A bit dirty, but a really cool idea. I’ve definitely heard of other people doing this and think it is a great way to help our planet be a little bit greener. 


5. Wear recycled clothing. This can be anything from buying clothing that is slightly used (or stealing it from someone else’s closet, that counts too!) to wearing clothes that are actually recycled. I wrote about REPREVE a few weeks ago, but it really is an awesome company that is trying to make a difference, one plastic bottle at a time. 

They sent me this awesome beanie hat to try out (also featured in video above^):


…which is made from six plastic bottles! They have partnered with several fitness apparel companies, which gives you an opportunity to help the environment just by going running. <— is that a stretch? thought it could be another fun reason why running rocks … anyways, check out who they are working with here!

Back to REPREVE… for example, the organization is teaming up with professional snowboarder Elena Hight, REPREVE’s brand ambassador, who will compete in the Women’s Superpipe in a bright green Volcom jacket made with REPREVE (from 50 recycled plastic bottles) at the Winter Olympics. How cool!


BONUS: Run errands as you run. I have done this in the past… mailed a bill, picked up a lottery ticket or gone to the store to pick up a few items. I always feel so successful… the whole birds with two stones thing. I think it is a fun way to “run” errands and save gas money. But make sure it’s a fun run… otherwise you may be disappointing with your time/effort. 🙂


What’s your favorite way to be a “green” runner?

Have you ever literally “run” errands before?


Thanks to REPREVE for sponsoring today’s discussion — although these tips are all my own thoughts!


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