Choosing Eco-Friendly Sports Equipment

April 3, 2012 View all articles in General

When you play sports, you're learning discipline, responsibility, and how to work in harmony with others; you're gaining self-confidence, mental strength, team spirit, strategic thinking skills; and you're developing physical fitness and good health practices. The last thing you and your kids are thinking about while you kick or throw a soccer ball, football, or basketball around is that it was stitched together by a 10-year-old in the developing world. You probably aren't thinking about the fact that nearly all sports balls are made of PVC, polyurethane, or even leather.

GREEN SPORTS BALL OPTIONS

So you and your family can play sports with clear consciences, look for sports balls and Frisbees that are eco-certified, Fair Trade, and made without animal byproducts. Here are a few brands to consider:

  • Senda Athletics: Senda Athletics, the new owners of Fair Trade Sports, makes top quality, certified Fair Trade soccer balls. The Fair Trade standard ensures that their ball producers meet social, economic, and environmental criteria as well as that all workers in the supply chain meet the national minimum wage. With Senda Athletics you can be sure no child labor is involved in production and that the health and safety of its workers is protected. Unfortunately, Senda soccer balls are made with polyurethane, which isn't quite as eco-friendly as we'd like, but the company's other efforts are still weighty.
  • Fair Trade Sports: Fair Trade Sports was the first company in the US to launch a full line of eco-certified, union-made sports equipment. The company also pioneered the use of sustainably forested rubber rather than rubber from mono-crop, destructive rubber tree plantations. The Fair Trade Eco Football is training quality (official size and weight) with soft handling, great performance, all-weather, and completely vegan with a high-grip surface that means year-round outdoor play. Each ball is made by adult workers who receive a fair wage and all after-tax profits of Fair Trade Sports go to children's charities. You can purchase Fair Trade Sports footballs, soccer balls, and basketballs from TheUltimateGreenStore.com.
  • Wilson Sporting Goods: Though not certified Fair Trade, Wilson 's first “green” product, the Rebound basketball is made from 40 percent recycled rubber and the display packaging is made from 80 percent recycled material. The idea behind the Rebound came about when the company's engineers wanted to produce an affordable basketball that would have less impact on the environment. Case in point, every 70 Rebound basketballs Wilson produces equals one less tire ending up in a landfill. Wilson 's Rebound affords young players the chance to improve their performance while also playing in an environmentally friendly way! You can purchase the Rebound at your local Walmart store.

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