Team Green -- Eco-friendly fitness finds
Earth Day was April 22, but don't worry, we're not going to bombard you with guilt trips and lectures. Instead, we're here with some good, green news: Sports-minded companies have finally found a way to manufacture green products that are designed to play as hard as you do (i.e., that don't crumble after two uses!). We scoured the market to find six new perfect-for-summer products that are feeling the love for Mother Earth.FOR THE TRAIL RUNNER ...
Brooks Cascadia 6 ($110, brooksrunning.com)
When you trash your running shoes, they eventually find their way to a landfill, where it takes more than 1,000 years for the EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) midsoles to decompose. However, the latest version of the Brooks Cascadia trail-runner contains a proprietary nontoxic natural additive that makes its midsoles biodegradable in just 20 years. Other eco victories: The laces and tongue webbing are made from recycled consumer goodies, and recycled rubber makes up 30 percent of the outsole. Perhaps most significant, the big ol' box they come in -- traditionally the most wasteful part of the shoe -- is made from 100 percent recycled materials.FOR THE DO-IT-ALL ATHLETE ...
Waterbobble ($10 for bottle; $7 for replacement filter, waterbobble.com)
As an athlete, you don't play when it comes to your water. It's Vital, capital V. So choose a smart H2O vessel that won't end up in a landfill alongside the 30 billion other single-use plastic bottles Americans throw out every year. The carbon-filtered Waterbobble is 100 percent recycled and recyclable, and is BPA-, phthalate- and PVC-free. Drink that in.FOR THE BEACH BETTY ...
Wham-O Eco Disc ($4.99, wham-o.com)
Yep, it looks just like the classic Frisbee, but it's actually made from Sprigwood -- recycled wood/sawdust and reclaimed plastic. Perfect for the beach, backyard or park, this do-good disc provides a great workout -- 60 minutes of Ultimate Frisbee will burn more than 500 calories (hello, cardio) while strengthening your arms, back and core in a major way.FOR THE OFF-THE-GRID ADVENTURER ...
nPower Peg ($160, npowerpeg.com)
About the size of a small flashlight, this personal energy generator uses kinetic energy to power your handheld gadgets. While you work out -- walking, running, biking or hiking -- it harvests the power of your movements and converts it into electric output to refuel a GPS (if you're hiking), cell phone or iPod. Thirty minutes of walking will earn you one minute of talk time. The more strenuous the exercise, the more power you produce. Time to walk the talk, people.FOR THE SURFER GIRL ...
Country Feeling Surfboards ($625 to $1,495, countryfeelingsurfboards.com)
Made entirely from environmentally friendly materials -- soy -- and sugar-based foam; plant-based and solar-activated resins; and deck inlays from silk, hemp, organic cotton and bamboo cloth -- these surfboards come in all the usual flavors, including fun boards, short boards, long boards, single-fin and more. They're all designed, as the North Shore shapers promise, "to bring the soul back into surfing."FOR THE YOGI ...
Yogasana Yoga Mats ($59, yogasanarugs.com)
This green-minded company has been making hand-loomed rugs in India for more than 15 years -- handwoven yoga mats are a natural extension. The mats are 100 percent cotton and require exactly zero power to produce (they are even dried in the sun). It takes three days to make just one, and each is colored using all-natural dyes. The residual dye water is used to irrigate the fruits and vegetables surrounding the manufacturing facility in India. It's all very Zen, just like your practice ... at least the moments when you're not cursing out your hamstrings!
How do you go green?
The Athlete: Gretchen Bleiler, Professional Halfpipe and Olympian
Her Green Scheme: "I've hooked up all my appliances and electronics to power strips, so when they're not in use I can turn them off completely to eliminate hidden energy leakage."
The Athlete: Steph Davis, Top Female Rock Climber, Soloist, Alpinist, Big Wall Climber
Her Green Scheme: "I have a great item called a Green Cone, since my garden is small and I don't need compost. I put all my biodegradable food scraps in it, and they just break down into the ground."
The Athlete: Jayne Appel, center for the WNBA's San Antonio Silver Stars
Her Green Scheme: "I love making an effort towards being green, even during my workouts. I am constantly re-filling a thermos water bottle instead of using plastic, and also drive my prius to the place of my workouts as well! I also make an effort to keep my workouts in my head or on a computer screen instead of printing them out every time and using paper up. Go green!"
The Athlete: Lauren Perkins, Professional Skateboarder
Her Green Scheme: "In an effort to become more green I no longer buy water bottles. Instead I use a reusable ALEX water bottle. I also bring my own bags to the grocery store and recycle as much as possible."
The Athlete: Jessica Mendoza, two-time Olympic Medalist USA Softball
Her Green Scheme: "We just recently went 100 percent solar energy for our entire house. I use only reusable bags when I go shopping anywhere (grocery store, Target, etc). Have now put in all energy efficient light bulbs throughout our house. Also have many drought-resistant plants in our yard to minimize water use. Plus teaching my son every day why it is so important to look after our earth and do our part to take care of it."
The Athlete: Sarah Haskins, Professional Triathlete, USA Olympian
Her Green Scheme: "In an effort to be eco-conscious I drive my Camry Hybrid to save on gas. I also try to do the little things like unplugging my cell phone charger off the wall when it's not being used, bring re-usable bags to the grocery store and recycle!"
The Athlete: Nicole Branagh, Professional Beach Volleyball Player, USA Olympian
Her Green Scheme: "As a beach volleyball player the earth's resources -- the water, sand and sun -- are part of my everyday life. To make sure my niece and nephew enjoy the same sunny beaches that I go to work on very day, I car pool to practice, bring my own re-usable water bottle and let my suits air-dry after washing. All things green don't have to be big in scope to make a difference. One by one we can keep the natural beauty of sand and the sea alive."