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The Sustainable Athlete - How To Shop Sustainably

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sustainable shopping eco friendly

When is the last time you stopped to think about how sustainable your training and racing garments are? We often get sucked into the new trends and latest sporting technologies but neglect to consider where our clothes have come from. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to improve the sustainability of your workout wardrobe!

Buy less, wear more

A really simple but effective way to reduce your impact on the planet is to create a capsule wardrobe that is equipped for all your fitness needs. Previously, I have been guilty of hoarding copious amounts of activewear to such an extent that I don’t even know what I own anymore. By only purchasing what I need, I have created a clutter-free wardrobe that is absent from unnecessary impulse buys.

Buy sustainable activewear

Traditionally, activewear is manufactured from synthetic fabrics to ensure that they are lightweight, stretchy, and sweat wicking. Unfortunately, these ideal workout fabrics are far from environmentally-friendly. Nylon, polyester and spandex require huge amounts of energy to produce and release tiny toxic micro-particles into our water systems which harm aquatic life. The solution? Individuals need to be more sustainable with their activewear choices and look to brands like Sundried to source their kit.

Here at Sundried we are passionate about protecting our environment. Our EcoTech Collection is sustainably made from recycled materials. 

Buy better quality clothes

Fast fashion culture is a very problematic movement in today’s society but luckily the public is wising up to the unethical nature of this ethos. If you can’t find an ethical alternative to a garment that you require, ensure it is of a high quality. Investing in a product that is going to be long-lasting will minimise your impact on the planet by enabling you to buy less.

Buy second-hand kit

Athletes might be less inclined to buy vintage sportswear in the fear of the kit arriving in poor condition. However, after conducting my own searches on online sites like eBay, I have discovered that this isn’t the case. By using the right search filters and doing your research, it is easy to find used items that are in excellent condition.

If you aren’t convinced by the prospect of second-hand clothing, then maybe the cost-saving benefit will sway your opinion. Last month I ordered a pair of unworn leggings from eBay for under £4 that would normally retail at around £30, and a nearly new tracksuit jacket for £10 that would normally retail at around £50. A pair of absolute bargains!

Sell your unwanted kit

Ethical disposal of your old activewear is a key element of sustainable sports fashion. A great way to discard of your clothing is to sell it on sites like eBay or Depop. If a product isn’t in good enough condition to sell, then ensure that it is recycled by sending it to a charity shop for textiles or taking it to a recycling centre.

Make your washing habits more sustainable

You can make your wardrobe eco-friendly by changing your washing habits. By washing your clothes at 10 degrees cooler, it will not only save electricity but prevent any damage occurring to your clothes, resulting in them lasting longer. Also consider investing in an eco-ball to replace your washing powders and tablets which contain harmful micro-plastics that are toxic to aquatic life.

Support local brands

Buy from local businesses to save on transport miles. Look to reuse the packaging that you receive with your purchases too and advocate brands which limit plastic use; Sundried uses lovely eco-friendly tote bags and drawstring sacks to package their items for delivery.

I hope you can all use some of these tips to make your activewear more sustainable. It’s important to understand that to create an ethical activewear wardrobe, the answer does not lie with purchasing more kit. Take a look through your current clothing and identify the items that are worth keeping, those that need selling on, and those which are ready to be recycled.

About the author: Laura Smith is an accomplished athlete and university graduate. She has been a Sundried ambassador since 2017.

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