6 Ways to be a More Eco-Friendly Team

Photo Courtesy: Pexels, Alena Koval

By Daniela Navarrete, Swimming World College Intern.

Nowadays, taking care of the environment has become a trend. During a UN General Assembly high-level meeting, sources shared that in eleven years, the damage we have caused to our Earth is going to be irreversible if we don’t take drastic action. A sense of urgency has spread throughout society, and as a consequence, many organizations have shared ways to help be more environmentally friendly at home, school and in the workplace.

But how do we become more sustainable in the pool? As swimmers, we can take action by making small changes within our team that will eventually lead to a great impact in the ecosystem.

Here are six ways your team can become more eco-friendly.

1. Reusable Water Bottles


Photo Courtesy: Amrae Powell

Only in the United States, as of 2015, there were 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste generated. A plastic water bottle is not biodegradable. Therefore, to help decrease the amount of plastic waste in future years, have your team make a one-time purchase and get reusable water bottles! You can choose from plenty of styles, sizes and colors. A popular brand among swimmers is Hydro flask because of its great durability and original design. Most plastic water bottles can be recycled though. However, the point here is to follow the 3R’s in the order they go: first “Reduce,” then “Reuse,” and if you can’t do the two previous ones, “Recycle.”

2. Water Fountain or Gallon Dispenser


Photo Courtesy: Flickr, jordanfischer

Sometimes when we fill out our reusable water bottles from home, it is not enough for a two to four hour swim practice. By installing a water fountain or having a gallon dispenser available during practice, swimmers can refill their bottles and stay hydrated. Even during meets, by implementing the use of reusable water bottles among the community, paper cups and plastic bottles will no longer be needed.

3. Practice Whiteboard

Large teams are often divided into training groups, and each group completes a different practice that coaches usually print on paper. Let’s say your team has a sprint, stroke, and distance group; three different print practices will be needed. Multiply that by the number of swimmers per group, and don’t forget the practices coaches will have in hand too! To reduce your paper waste at the pool, get a whiteboard (or several whiteboards) for your team. A whiteboard will help reduce the carbon footprint of your team, plus it will be easier to read practices as no more wet paper will be needed.

4. Pool Covers


Photo Courtesy: Flickr, Henry Hemming

They help conserve a lot of water and save chemical use. Pool chemicals harm the ecosystem, but because less pool heat is lost with a cover, fewer chemicals need to be added to keep the pool clean and at the ideal temperature. Additionally, apart from being a more eco-friendly team, you can save money over time because the water and chemical expenses will also decrease.

5. Carpooling


Photo Courtesy: Pexels, Tobi

If some of your teammates live close to each other, encourage carpooling! According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, car emissions cause 75 percent of carbon monoxide emissions in the U.S. Carpooling helps decrease these emissions. Besides, your teammates could pay for gas collectively, which will save you a significant amount of money individually. You can also consider public transportation if it is safe and available in your area. If it is a short distance from home to the pool, try riding your bike to practice!

6. Donate Old Suits and Equipment!


Photo Courtesy: Mariana Navarrete

When our tech suits rip or our snorkels break, we tend to throw them in the trash. There are many swim teams across the nation and worldwide that can’t afford to get the newest piece of equipment or suit. We all know of organizations that accept used clothes or shoes. To help those in need, get together with your team and check out how and where you can donate swim-related items. Here are some organizations you can contact:

To all those swim teams out there: try to join the effort of becoming more eco-friendly. Sometimes we think that making small adjustments in our lives will not be beneficial because it does not seem like a big change. Yet, as the Tanzanian Proverb states: “Little by little, a little becomes a lot.”

-All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.