Wellness routines are a personal thing: while one person swears by yoga and a vegan meal plan, another won’t miss a day of CrossFit or leave the house without a full water bottle on hand. But one common thread connects everyone’s daily regime — to some extent, they can be damaging to the environment. By making simple earth-friendly tweaks to certain aspects of your wellness routine, you’ll feel even better sticking to your regime.
Start with your water bottle
It might be shocking to learn that the average American goes through 167 plastic water bottles each year. This would be bad enough if they all were recycled, but even that’s not always the case — a mere 30 percent of them make it into a recycling bin. The rest end up in landfills, where they pile up for centuries to come, or in bodies of water, where floating plastics are already a huge problem.
So, your best bet is to forego plastic water bottles altogether in favour of a refillable, eco-friendly option. The greenest materials to choose are glass or stainless steel. If you select something plastic, ensure that it’s BPA-free. BPA, or bisphenol-a, is an ingredient sometimes used to make hard plastics. It’s also notorious for contributing to everything from diabetes to infertility and certain cancers.
Choose eco-friendly workout attire
The next time you need to replace a pair of workout leggings, a sports bra or even a t-shirt, research the brands that do good work for the planet. You’ll be surprised at how innovative designers have become — it’s never been easier to find workout gear made with recycled fibres and even aiming for zero-waste production practices.
Keep an eye out for brands that use organic cotton and other fabrics, so you know they were grown without the damaging use of pesticides. Clothing that’s biodegradable is an excellent choice, too — it’ll break back down into the earth when you’re done with it. To that end, when you’re ready to swap your current workout gear for a new set, be sure to safely recycle the textiles you have now.
Of course, these tips can apply to your regular wardrobe, too. Many vegan-friendly fashion brands have begun to include eco-friendly textiles, and you can donate your unwanted items to a thrift or charity shop to boost their lifespan, rather than dumping them in a landfill.
Give your beauty cabinet an overhaul
Everyone’s post-workout beauty and hygiene routine will be different, but one thing’s for sure — you can make it eco-friendlier. For starters, ditch as many one-time-use products as you possibly can. While cotton swabs and facial wipes may be convenient, they become trash in a matter of seconds. You can replace both with a washable cotton washcloth to reduce your waste.
One great way to reduce your plastic usage is to invest in shampoo and conditioner bars. They reside in reusable, sustainable containers when not in use, and they lather right up to wash your hair when needed. Oh, and they don’t have to go in your cabin-approved bag for carry-on liquids, so they make travelling more convenient.
Give your brushing routine a makeover
Even your toothbrush, toothpaste and floss are likely to have an eco-friendly alternative. This is especially true of toothpaste, some of which contain microplastics, nearly undetectable bits of plastic that end up in bodies of water (for our UK readers, microplastics have been banned in the UK. Unfortunately they are still legal in other places). Microplastics are damaging to wildlife and the environment at large. Choose toothpaste that’s microbead-free for feel-good brushing. Vegan-friendly, microbead-free brands include LUSH, Liz Earle, Co-op (UK), Weleda, Superdrug (UK) and Truthpaste.
Take it outside
Not every workout can take place outdoors, and that’s okay. But, if your routine includes daily trips to the gym to run on the treadmill or ride the bike, why not try taking it outside? You’ll use fewer resources, as you won’t have to power a machine to exercise. Plus, spending time outside is good for your mind — and outdoor workout will boost both your mental and physical health. Even if you’re not exercising, a daily trek outdoors should be part of your schedule to let the good vibes flow and restore your dedication to preserving the world around you.
Switch to a reusable razor
Still tossing away disposable razors after your post-workout shower? Invest in a stainless steel razor that will stand the test of time. Safety razors may seem slightly scary at first, but after making the transition, many eco-warriors swear by them. Once you get the angle right, the fear of getting cut will quickly subside.
Look into eco-friendly workout equipment
A yoga mat is just a yoga mat, right? Not always. Commercially produced yoga mats are commonly made from plastic – a few years ago, one of the most commonly used materials was PVC, which is known for its harm to the planet. Smaller, ethically minded brands such as Yoga Design Lab create mats made from recycled plastic bottles, making a dent in waste and offering beautiful, durable equipment at the same time.
Choose well-sourced meals
Finally, a hearty, healthy meal is necessary at the end of a long day or a long workout. Your wellness routine probably centres around the food you eat, so you should be more critical of how each ingredient is grown, harvested and processed.
To make things simple, adhere to these general rules:
Go vegan. If you haven’t already, make a transition toward a vegan diet. Not only is it healthier, but you won’t be contributing to the continuous plight and objectification of animals.
Choose organic: Similarly, when you shop organic, you know your food has grown without pesticides which, as we mentioned before, aren’t good for the environment. More specifically, they contaminate soil, get into the water supply and damage that, too. They kill wildlife, from insects to fish to the animals who eat littler members of the ecosystem.
Shop local: Otherwise, your food might be driven or flown on from across the country or world. This requires a hefty amount of fuel, making your meal eco-unfriendly. Plus, local farms and their products provide a wealth of benefits. Not only do their products taste better, but buying from a nearby farmer helps boost your community’s economy and means your dollar isn’t going toward factory farms.
These tips are just the beginning, but following them will have you well on your way to a more eco-friendly lifestyle. And that’s something that will do you — and the earth, of course — a world of good.
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Photos by Alora Grifiths and Bruce Mars via Unsplash