Next time you’re planning out your training regimen, why not try to upgrade it to a more sustainable one? By working out in a more sustainable way, you will make a significant step towards protecting our planet. Here are some simple ways that you can make your training a little greener.
Take up yoga
Yoga teaches you to connect with the environment and obtain a deeper appreciation for it, which could translate into understanding why sustainability is so critical to preserving our planet. This type of exercise requires very little equipment and no electricity which makes it a great means of sustainable exercising.
It’s not necessary to visit the gym for a great workout. There are plenty of ways that you can keep fit at home, it just requires the willpower to do so. By investing in some weights and equipment that doesn’t use electricity, you’ll be able to avoid fitness centres and keep to a very small environmental footprint.
Use your legs
Anything that you do on a treadmill or a static bike, you can do outside without wasting electricity. By choosing to cycle, run, and walk outside, you can also enjoy the beautiful sites around you rather than staring at a gym wall.
Choose the open water
Why not swap the pool for the sea, a lake, or a river? Swimming pools require copious amounts of energy to heat, treat and keep clean which means they have an extremely high carbon footprint. An open water source is a much more sustainable way to get your swimming miles in and is far more interesting than just swimming length after length.
Be selective with your gym equipment
If the gym is your favourite place to work out, then why not choose to utilise the equipment that does not waste much electricity? Opt for free-weights rather than machines to keep your environmental impact to a minimum. Another option is to look for a gym that values sustainability and invests in eco-friendly equipment, such as bikes that generate electricity rather than use it.
Incorporate training into your commute
Instead of driving to work and then going to an evening spin class for your daily dose of exercise, use your bike to commute to work. You’ll be working out and saving the planet at the same time… winner!
Support green organisations
Try to sign up for events and races that are run by organisations who are committed to sustainability and making a difference to local communities.
It’s not hard to incorporate some sustainability into your exercise routines. It just takes a little bit of thought and some simple changes which can make a real difference.
Sundried recently ran a poll asking the public where they think their old clothing ends up when they throw it out. Is this something you've ever thought about? 25% of respondents admitted they've never thought about it. Here's what really happens to your old clothes when you throw them out.
What really happens to donated clothes?
According to the BBC, in the UK alone we throw out over a million tonnes of clothing every year. That's a lot of waste! We may not think of clothing as waste, but it ends up in landfill just like all the other rubbish we throw out and sits there for hundreds of years, contributing to the global pollution crisis. Understandably, a lot of people decide to donate their clothes to charity shops or clothes banks in order to prevent this waste and in the hopes their old clothes could potentially help the less fortunate. But what really happens to donated clothes?
British charity WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) estimates that over 70% of donated clothes worldwide get exported overseas in an expensive and polluting second-hand garment trade . According to figures released by the UN, Britain is the second largest exporter of second-hand clothing, after the USA. The UK exports over 351,000 tons of old clothes – with an export value of £380m – to countries like Poland, Pakistan, and Ghana.
What once started as donations end up as tradable goods.
Do clothes get recycled?
Textile and garment recycling is hugely on the rise as global interest in environmental consciousness increases. Clothes that are thrown out by everyday people become what is known as 'post-consumer' and these post-consumer textiles can have a huge value to those who know what to do with them.
When you throw out your clothing to be recycled, it will either be reusable or not reusable, depending on the condition it is in. If it is still in a wearable condition, it might be sold on to third world countries as outlined above. If it is in bad condition – ripped, stained, or otherwise damaged – it will be sorted into rags, scraps, and fibrous material which can be recycled, sometimes into new clothing.
Clothing that is sent to be recycled gets collected from the donation bins or shops and is processed at dedicated facilities. At these processing facilities, the recycled clothes are shredded, treated and then re-purposed. The material can be used for acoustic dampening materials, carpet padding, insulation, or turned into rags for the automobile industry.
Because the recycling process stretches and weakens the fibers, only a small percentage of post-consumer polyester can be used to make new clothing. H&M’s sustainability report for 2016 showed that only 0.7 percent of their fabrics were created from recycled materials.
Old clothing is processed and turned into padding, insulation, and rags. Only a tiny percentage is turned into new clothing.
How can you be more environmentally friendly?
One of the best ways to be environmentally friendly is not to buy too many new clothes each year and wear what you do own as much as possible before throwing it out. Avoid buying very cheap clothing as this is more likely to be mass-produced and poor quality, therefore lasting less time and being thrown out more readily. If you spend a little more on quality clothing, you're more likely to care for it and want to get as many wears out of it as possible.
At Sundried, all of our activewear is made with longevity in mind so that it can last as long as possible. Our clothing will retain its colour and shape wash after wash, wear after wear, so that you can keep it for years.
Sundried also has a range of biodegradable t-shirts which biodegrade in 3 short years when exposed to the anaerobic environment of landfill. This means that once you do throw out your t-shirt, you can be safe in the knowledge that it won't be polluting the planet for hundreds of years.
These fitness tops by Sundried are biodegradable
Another way to be more environmentally friendly is to buy clothing made from recycled raw materials like plastic bottles or coffee grounds. At Sundried, we offer two collections made from recycled materials which help to reduce waste and clean up the planet. Our Eco Core range is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and the innovative fabric dries 200 times faster than cotton, meaning the wearer can stay dry and comfortable even during a sweaty workout. The fabric is also super soft and kind to the skin, making it perfect for activewear.
So next time you're thinking of buying new activewear, why not go for the eco-friendly choices and see how it can benefit you?
We live in a culture where burying your head in the sand is not acceptable. The fashion industry is the second largest pollutant after the oil industry and is widely known for terrible and dangerous working conditions, yet still we sit back and do not ask our favourite brands simple questions like ‘Where are your products made?’, ‘Why is this so cheap?’ and ‘What are your environmental policies?’
Read more about the ethics in the fashion industry.
It is now easier than ever to choose fair trade, sustainable clothing instead of opting for cheap, fast fashion which is bad for both the environment and the people in the production chain. We take a closer look at the best eco friendly products when buying sustainable clothing.
Biodegradable Fitness Tops
The t-shirt in the photo above looks pretty unremarkable, doesn't it? A quality white t-shirt which is stretchy, comfortable, and features performance technology such as sweat wicking and anti odour. Well, that's not so hard to find, right? What if I told you that the t-shirt in the photo is actually biodegradable, and instead of laying in landfill for the next century, it would decompose naturally in three short years? Pretty incredible!
The t-shirt in question is the Eco Tech women's fitness top by Sundried and is made from the world's first biodegradable polyamide yarn. In a world of fast fashion, we rarely think about where our clothes end up once we throw them out. Do they get recycled? Do they get given to the homeless? Not really. In fact, 85% of textil waste ends up in landfill where it will stay for hundreds of years, taking up space and hurting the environment.
Instead, why not invest in a technical, performance-enhance biodegradable fitness t-shirt such as the Sundried Eco Tech women's fitness top? It features some of the world's best performance qualities so is perfect for running, cycling, yoga, Pilates, gym workouts, and all number of sports.
Bamboo is a natural, organic raw material which is sustainable and perfect for clothing as well as accessories like gloves. Bamboo is an eco-friendly replacement for plastic as it is renewable and can be replenished quickly. Bamboo grows extremely quickly – some species up to a metre a day! – which means it's perfect for harvesting at high rates for turning into textiles and is easily renewable. When it comes to greenhouse emissions, bamboo minimises CO2 and generates up to 35% more oxygen than equivalent stands of trees.
There are now lots of different brands and companies who use bamboo as a raw material for their textiles, including Sundried. It has many advantages over cotton and hopefully will be used more widely as time goes on.
Organic workout clothes
When you think organic, chances are you think about food. Organic food is not treated with pesticides and organic meat, dairy and poultry comes from animals which have not been given growth hormones or antibiotics.
Organic textiles are clothing made from materials raised in or grown in compliance with organic agricultural standards. Organic clothing may be composed of materials like cotton or jute. Sundried's yoga mat is made from organic jute fibre which is a vegetable fibre similar to hemp or flax. Jute is one of the most affordable natural fibres, second only to cotton in the amount produced and variety of uses. This means it is an excellent choice for textiles and products like the Sundried yoga mat as well as products like yoga clothes.
If you have friends who have run the London Marathon or if you have a charity close to your heart, chances are you know about the world of sponsorship – doing challenges to raise money and awareness. Pledge For The Planet is sponsorship with a difference as it encourages people to make ethically-minded behavioural changes instead of donating money. We talk with founder Alice Kendall to find out more.
For those who don't already know, what is Pledge For The Planet?
Pledge for the Planet is sponsorship with a difference. An environmental pledging platform aimed at runners, triathletes or anyone who is taking on a challenge. The website allows you (the participant) to create an event page and share it with friends and family, inviting them to support your challenge with behavioural sponsorship in the form of environmental pledges.
There are 16 pledges to choose from spanning food, fashion, travel and plastic. When a supporter selects a pledge and how long they want to keep it for, they will see the direct impact they will personally have by sticking to it. For example, by pledging to go meat-free one day a week for a month you will save 10.3kg GHG emissions. The person you are supporting by pledging will also be notified of the difference you are making.
What made you first decide to develop the idea of Pledge For The Planet?
The idea came to me when I was training for the Edinburgh marathon last year. I have always loved running; I have run for charities in the past but felt like I had asked for donations too many times and wanted to come up with an alternative way for people to show their support. As an environmentally conscious person, I would often find myself gently lecturing friends and family about why they should cut down on their meat consumption or pull a horrified face if I saw them drinking from a single-use plastic bottle.
A lot of the time our consumerist behaviour boils down to being stuck in a routine of unsustainable bad habits. I wanted to find a way to encourage people to actively swap these habits for an environmentally friendly alternative. I thought that by using the motivation of a friend taking part in a tough challenge (e.g. a marathon) you are much more likely to commit to your own personal challenge (e.g. commuting under your own steam one day a week) as a way of showing them your support.
What makes Pledge For The Planet different?
Pledge for the Planet is different because there is no money involved in sponsorship, your behaviour is your currency. The website allows you to ask for sponsorship or sponsor someone by committing to an environmental pledge.
Climate change feels overwhelming so PFTP helps people to make a difference and engage in positive change in a bite size and manageable way. It allows someone who is taking part in a race to inspire and challenge their friends and family to sponsor them with a pledge. We believe that if we all start to make small changes to the way we live, collectively we can have an incredibly positive and powerful impact on our environment.
What is the ultimate goal of Pledge For The Planet?
The ultimate goal is to get many people as possible to use the website as a way to ask for sponsorship when taking on their races and challenges. By using the ‘can-do’ attitude you get from taking on a sporting challenge, we hope this will inspire change, create conversations about pressing environmental issues and encourage as many people as possible to switch to more planet conscious lifestyle habits. We hope that this will educate and motivate people to be mindful in their actions towards our planet.
What are some of the pledges you've had so far?
There are 16 pledges to choose from which span food, fashion, travel and plastic. So far, the most popular pledge has been to ‘Shop Unpacked’ – only buying loose fresh produce and stocking up on dry good from zero waste shops. This pledge is really important because 91% of plastic is not recycled, even though you might put it into your recycling bin. It ends up in landfill or oceans and food packaging is the worst culprit.
Why is it important for people to make environmentally-minded pledges?
I think it’s important for people to realise that you can start by making small changes to you daily lifestyle and build it up from there. It doesn’t have to seem so overwhelming, it’s about being positive and feeling like you can make manageable changes.
Ultimately, it’s important for people to make environmentally-minded pledges because we are in the midst of a climate crisis, we need to be more responsible for our actions and think about the effect we are having on our planet. But it doesn’t have to feel like this scary, impossible and totally daunting task. We should all start by doing what we can, supporting each other in our path to sustainability with whichever changes we feel that we can commit to and build from there.
How can people get involved?
People can get involved in two ways. Either by signing up for an event and creating a page on www.pledgefortheplanet.org and sharing it to ask for sponsorship in the form of environmental pledges. Or by sponsoring someone taking on a race or challenge by selecting an environmental pledge to stick to.