I try to live a pretty green life, even though I know there is a LOT more I can do. Some of the green things I do on a regular basis include biking to work (and anywhere else I can instead of driving), bringing my own canvas bags to the grocery store/farmer's market, and using my Kleen Kanteen water bottle instead of buying bottled water. I am sure there is more, but those are the big ones.
The November 2008 Issue of Runner's World was all about running green and they now have a Green Running section on their site. I am going to use one of their articles, How to Be a Greener Runner, as the basis for this post and a sort of meme. Below is a the list of "30 things even a busy, sane person (i.e., you) can do" and how my own habits stack up (written in green and italics below the items from the article).
Get to Workouts
- Good: Bike to all group runs and track workouts.
- Better: Run to a local farmers' market to buy produce.
- Best: Start all your runs from your home or office.
- Good: Participate in eco-conscious races (check out page 74 or go to runnersworld-greenteam.com)
- Better: Carpool or take public transit to get to and from events.
- Best: Race in your hometown as much as possible.
- Good: Buy powdered sports drinks and mix them yourself.
- Better: Wave away plastic race cups by carrying your own water in a secure container (like Amphipod's Hydraform Handheld Pockets).
- Best: Use reusable bottles instead of throwaway plastic water bottles.
Buy New Shoes
- Good: If you run on trails only occasionally, buy one pair of shoes that can handle light off-road use.
- Better: Pick shoes that are made with fewer nasty solvents and recycled components, such as the Nike Air Pegasus 25 and END's Stumptown.
- Best: Buy the Brooks Trance 8. Its midsole is made out of BioMoGo, a material that reportedly decomposes 50 times faster than conventional midsoles.
- Good: Buy shirts, outer layers, and especially socks made with merino wool, a natural and renewable resource.
- Better: Buy clothes made from recycled postconsumer polyester, like Patagonia's Capilene 1 T-shirt. And when you're done with it, Patagonia will recycle it into other apparel.
- Best: Hold off on new purchases and wear your existing apparel as long as you can.
Make a Difference
- Good: Donate to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, local parks boards, or other organizations that create and promote new trails or running paths.
- Better: Volunteer to clean up a local trail, or adopt a road you like to run on.
- Best: Organize a recycling drive at a local race where participants can bring old gear.
Care for Your Gear
- Good: Restore the breathability and repellency (and extend the lifespan) of your waterproof gear by washing it with McNett's ReviveX.
- Better: Reduce your consumption of plastic and water by switching to superefficient concentrated forms of laundry detergents.
- Best: Wash your apparel in cold water and hang dry. (Bonus: Your clothes won't pill, and they'll last longer.)
- Good: Recycle energy-bar wrappers with the Energy Bar Brigade (see terracycle.net), which up-cycles them into other products. For each wrapper you save, sponsors give 2 cents to a charity you pick.
- Better: Make your own energy bars. You can buy mixes or see page 41 for a recipe.
- Best: Eat one less serving per week of meat, which requires significantly more fuel and water to produce than other sources of protein.
- Good: Run outside whenever you can (rather than inside on a treadmill).
- Better: If you need snowshoes, a bicycle, or a set of weights, purchase gently used equipment rather than new gear. Try buying it from someone local through a resource like Craigslist.org.
- Best: Leave your car in the driveway and bike or run to the gym once a week.
Deal with Old Shoes
- Good: Wear them casually afterward. They may lack cushioning for a long run, but they're fine to walk the dog.
- Better: Donate them to Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program, which recycles the shoes to help surface new tracks and for other uses.
- Best: Donate them to Soles4Souls, Shoe4Africa, or One World Running, outfits that give shoes to needy people. For more information, check out runnersworld.com/donate.