5 ways runners can offset their Carbon Footprint

5 ways runners can offset their Carbon Footprint

As we see the popularity rise of our sport it is increasingly important for runners to take responsibility. It’s key to ensure that the beautiful trails that we currently run on can be enjoyed for generations to come. It is great to see a growing number of runners and event organisers taking positive steps to manage their carbon footprint and encourage their communities to do the same with several wide-ranging initiatives being adopted. 

Ultra X Co-Founder and Runner, Sam Heward, shares his tips with for how to train and race more sustainably to reduce your own carbon footprint…

1. Think about your travel

One of the perks of running is that you can do it anywhere. Which makes it tempting to travel to other countries to explore and attend races.

Frequently flying can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint and so when you do so consider ways to offset this. Many airlines now offer an “offset button” on checkout where you can pay an extra X% to contribute to their emission scheme, alternatively we recommend using a Travel Carbon Calculator (various good ones are available online) to work out your total carbon footprint and then finding an organisation you align with and support their projects.

2. Race with responsible organisations

At Ultra X, we are committed to having a positive impact. Which is why from May this year we will be operating as a carbon-neutral company. This means each quarter we will be offsetting all net emissions so that our actions as a company result in zero net release of carbon dioxide.

We will also reward our ‘green runners’ for offsetting their carbon footprint, prohibit single use plastic by 2022 and donate surplus clothing and food to local communities among many other green initiatives.

We love this planet and we want to protect it so we can continue to enjoy it.

3. Ditch the packaging

When it comes to being more sustainable, choosing to make your own homemade fuel can help reduce waste from wrappers found on bars and gels. Additionally, you can control what is in your fuel, choosing organic ingredients. Should you use prepackaged fuel, try to stick with companies that offer recyclable packaging and do not chuck them away!

It’s easy to be tempted to invest in energy, protein and/or electrolyte drinks regularly. But each of these come with disposable (usually plastic) packaging that is harmful to the environment. So instead, think about investing in powders or tablets.

When you are on the run, think about carrying your fuel responsibly. Using reusable bags and pouches versus plastic sandwich bags as well as reusable water bottles are the key to being more sustainable when carrying your fuel. 

4. Forget about that race T-shirt

How many race t-shirts have you managed to pick up over the years? Now how many of them do you actually wear? A crazy amount of unused clothing goes to landfill each year. Currently over 5% of the UK’s total annual water and carbon footprints result from clothing consumption. Lot’s of races are now foregoing the standard t-shirt giveaway and we ask that you do too. 

5. Buy smart

Do your bit by buying items from sustainable companies. Many make their race gear out of recycled materials or sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton and hemp. When you are done with your clothes/ shoes, rather than throwing them in the bin, check out the myriad of organisations that will take your old pair of running shoes or pass on that old t-shirt. We like ReRun for prolonging the life of running clothes and equipment.

Sam Walker
the authorSam Walker
Sam is a regular gym goer who loves a strong spin or step class. Her main fitness goal is to tone up and be a healthier / fitter version of herself.

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