When I think of the month of April, I think of spring, and usually Easter and Earth Day! I remember hearing about Earth Day in the 80’s and thought it was a really neat day to celebrate BUT in all honesty I think we need to celebrate Earth Day every day for our beautiful planet!
As triathletes, we have SO much equipment, clothing, etc., that we can re-use and recycle, that we truly need to think of what we are doing for our Mother Earth. For the month of April (other than April 11th 70.3 IM Race Report), I want to give you some good ideas of what to do with your triathlon gear, old water bottles, spare tires and tubes, and even your chains!
Here are some HARD FACTS from Recycle Across America about Plastic Bottles, which we consume on a daily basis OR in a 70.3 IM or Ironman Triathlon race.
- Americans will throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles EVERY hour!
- Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves the equivalent energy usage of a two-person household in just one year.
- Less than 35% of households will recycle.
- Check out this YouTube video with Jeff Bridges. Very interesting video about plastic and what Plastic Pollution Coalition has put together. (I realize there are two sides to EVERY story, but I just was interested about the plastic facts).
Today, let’s talk about what to do with Cycling Water Bottles and try to “Eliminate” using regular water bottles on rides, and how we can do a better job of using and re-using our Cycling Water Bottles:
- Make sure your Cycling Water Bottles are Recyclable. Check out the jenrulon.com Water Bottles from Specialized. They are BPA FREE and recyclable! (Eventually, you will have to recycle the water bottles as they will get nasty.)
- Stop at a Gas Station for water on your bike ride? Ask the cashier if you can pay for ice and water to fill up your water bottle, versus buying a water bottle from Smart Water or Dasani, etc. For example: The other day, I bought a water bottle and filled up my bottles, had the plastic water bottle and NO RECYLE BIN at the gas station. It KILLED me to throw it in the garbage.
- Clean your Cycling Water Bottle WELL. Here are two GREAT links for you to get some tips on how to clean those water bottles! Thanks Performance Bike and Bicycling.com for a great post! (http://blog.performancebike.com/2014/01/18/real-advice-how-to-properly-clean-your-water-bottle/), (http://www.bicycling.com/maintenance/tips/7-tips-cleaning-your-cycling-water-bottles)
- Water Bottle handouts on the race course. We see the line of water bottles along the Aid Stations, right? Do these races recycle or throw them all in a garbage bag and put them in the garbage? I don’t know. I am sure each race is different. If you are truly concerned, find out. While I know I need water on the race course in an Ironman, I definitely will find out from the head race director what happens to these water bottles AFTER the race.
- DO NOT throw your water bottles in a forest or on the side of the road. Wait until the Aid Station. I saw a gentlemen throw a full water bottle about 1 mile down from the aid station at Ironman FL. I was pissed and said something to him about it.
- Afterlife for your Cycling Bottles? Yes, carpet is made out of recycled water bottles. Also check out this article from Bored Panda, about the 23 Creative ways to use old water bottles. I realize some of these are from regular water bottles BUT we do have plenty of Cycling water bottles that could make some of these things work! http://www.boredpanda.com/plastic-bottle-recycling-ideas/
I do believe that there is hope to recycle and re-use our Cycling Bottles. It starts with educating yourself on how to use your Cycling Bottles as much as possible, along with cleaning them well.
While Earth Day is on April 22nd, let’s think of Earth Day every day!
Side note: We need truly to start thinking about how many plastic bottles we use in training and racing. Let’s learn how to eliminate completely the plastic bottles (Smart Water, Dasani, etc.) versus paying for them.