Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle: Tips for Runners
Every April the world turns its eyes to, well, itself. Earth Day has been celebrated every April 22 since 1969. Each year it has grown in popularity and now more than 175 countries are involved. Earth Day was created as a way to increase awareness and further the goals of the environmental movement. Many communities spend the month of April focusing on actions they can take to preserve and protect the Earth all year long. And runners are no exception. The classic “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” mantra applies to us pavement pounders, too. There are many simple actions a runner can take to run green all year.
There are several ways for runners to cut back on the impact we leave on the planet. Carpool to local races and especially to out of town races. This cuts down on pollution and that annoying traffic jam you’ll inevitably endure at the starting line. Even better, loosen up before the race and ride your bike. No pollution whatsoever and you can park right up front.
Another thought is to swap some of your refueling snacks with those that don’t come in a disposable wrapper. Fruits and veggies pack a fantastic nutritional punch, and their “wrappers” may only include a compostable peel.
While staying hydrated is a must, using a disposable bottle is not. While drinking, think reusable bottles.
Finally, reducing your carbon footprint can begin with your very own foot. When choosing a running shoe, do the research. Many running shoe companies are creating shoes from natural, non-toxic, and recycled materials. Shoe factories have been one of the largest pollutants in the world. Make sure you choose one who is committed to reducing its impact on the planet.
Once the miles have taken their toll on your shoes, give them a second purpose. Worn out shoes are perfect for yard work or for an outdoor event that may get messy (like a Tough Mudder race). Some people even turn their tired kicks into trail shoes. Even if the running life has gone out of your shoes, there’s still plenty of other options before they need to be trashed.
Speaking of trashed, running shoes never need to be tossed, ever!
There are several organizations that take old shoes, like Soles4Souls who has been collecting shoes to give to those in need all over the world. Just because your shoes have worn too much for a run, does not mean another couldn’t wear them for daily use.
Nike and Converse have a drop off program for old shoes called “Reuse-a-Shoe.” They take worn out shoes and turn them into sport and playground surfaces.
Many states also have a shoe recycling program that turns old shoes into material for new streets and road surfaces. There is never a good reason for throwing away shoes.