The Family Home Blog

How to Be an Eco Friendly Sports Parent

Mar 31, 2016
Diane Hoffmaster

tennis racket and balls on court 

Spring is almost here, and with it comes the beginning of yet another sports season. Like most children today, my kids participate in a number of sports throughout the year. Being on an athletic team is a great way for kids to get exercise, make friends, unplug from technology and learn some great life lessons. However, depending on your choices, your child's afterschool sports team can potentially leave a huge carbon footprint. If you are trying to find ways to become a more ecofriendly sports parent, here are a few tips to consider:

1. Reduce travel time: Consider how much travel will be necessary before deciding on a sport.  Remember, you will need to think about practices as well as matches. Travel teams often take weekend trips. Not only does this require a lot of gasoline, but it can also add a lot of stress to your already busy life. Talk to other parents about carpooling as much as possible, to save on gas as well as time.

2. Buy secondhand equipment: Buying new equipment isn't really necessary unless your child is older and committed to the sport. Talk to older team members and ask about hand me down uniforms. Check out secondhand sports stores, garage sales and online retailers for used sports equipment.

3. Reconsider your uniform washing: Kids get incredibly dirty playing sports. Consider a few ecofriendly washing habits to reduce the carbon footprint of their vigorous workouts. Pre-treat stains as needed, and when possible wash uniforms in cold water. Try to line-dry in the sun when you can, which will help naturally brighten whites and fight odor while reducing energy usage.

4. Encourage reusable water bottles: Rather than supplying children with disposable bottles of water, encourage them to use their own reusable bottles. You could also bring a large cooler with a spigot for refills if they run out of water. Check out this post on how the choose the right water bottle for your child.

5. Make homemade snacks: Instead of buying store-bought snacks, which can result in a lot of waste, consider making homemade snacks instead. Make homemade granola bars and tuck them into a reusable large Ziploc® Brand Container.  

Do you have any other tips for eco friendly sports parents?

Photo courtesy of Diane Hoffmaster.

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