Eco-Friendly Gyms: Prioritizing Human and Planet Health
If you own or manage a gym or fitness center, it’s time to get serious about sustainability. The younger generation of today cares about climate change, the planet and who they do business with. They seek out products and services that are green and socially responsible. If you want to become a stand out, eco-friendly gym, there are many ways to adjust and improve your current practices. By incorporating sustainability into the core of your business, you’ll attract more customers and employees, gain their trust and loyalty, and yes, help protect the environment. Here’s a quick overview of where to start.
What is an Eco-Friendly Gym?
Eco-friendly gyms provide people with a way to improve their fitness and health while simultaneously helping the environment. These gyms find unique ways to reduce energy and water usage and focus on using products safe for human and planet health. There are many business benefits to being an eco-friendly gym or fitness center. Marketing your gym as a good environmental steward can elevate your brand and differentiate you from your competitors. Further, green practices not only minimize your costs, but attract an emerging demographic of young consumers who can become great customers and great employees. These consumers develop strong bonds to the companies they trust are doing environmental and social good. In fact, Millennials and Generation Z consumers are willing to pay an extra 11 to 20 percent for a product or service that aligns with the values and issues they care about. Using eco-friendly gym supplies and equipment, reducing water consumption, using natural and eco-friendly products, providing filtered water, and installing more efficient lighting and temperature control are solid steps towards optimizing and greening your gym.
Eco-friendly Gym Gear and Supplies
From yoga mats to hand weights, there are several opportunities to switch to more eco-friendly gear and supplies in your gym. Steer away from conventional gym gear that uses non-recyclable plastics like PVC and foam. You can find eco-friendly alternatives such as cork-based massage rollers, natural cork and rubber yoga mats, and natural latex resistance bands. Choose mats and flooring tiles made from recycled content and invest in a single adjustable dumbbell set rather than numerous dumbbells for various weights.
Eco-friendly Gym Machines
Instead of grid-run, there are now human-powered exercise machines. SportsArt, a green gym technology company, has a whole range of energy- producing gym equipment such as their Verde Treadmill that can generate up to 200 watts of electricity per hour of use. Human-powered equipment could help gyms generate their own energy, improve energy efficiency and lower both their electricity bills and grid demand. Unplugging exercise equipment after shut down to prevent leaking energy or “phantom energy” is another good green practice to lower energy consumption.
Natural and Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Gyms routinely use an abundance of cleaning products to sanitize the facility and ensure cleanliness. Avoid products that contain lye, ammonia, chlorine bleach, and other harsh, VOC-heavy chemicals. You can find a variety of certified safe and sustainable cleaning products through Green Seal. You can also read more about the dangers of conventional cleaning products and their green alternatives.
Reduce Water Consumption
Gyms can use hundreds of thousands gallons of water per year to fill pools, run showers, operate HVAC, and clean the facility. Reducing water consumption can lower your costs while preserving precious water supplies. Initiating smart water programs such as installing faucet motion sensors and low-flow toilets, shower heads and faucets can save 2.5 gallons of water per minute.
Reduce Plastic Waste and Provide Recycling
Combat plastic waste by investing in filtered water fountains instead of selling single-use water bottles. Encourage gym goers to bring their own reusable water bottles or sell durable bottles as gym merch (Note: Make sure your gym merch is also sourced from a sustainable supplier!).
Especially if you are selling products like energy drinks and protein powder containers, providing recycling can further reduce plastic waste. Encourage members and staff to participate and follow best recycling practices.
Efficient Lighting and Temperature Control
There are several ways to improve lighting efficiency in your gym such as simply changing all your bulbs to LEDs. LED bulbs use 20 to 25 percent less energy and can last up to 25 times as long. Install motion-sensor lighting and a smart thermostat system to regulate and optimize energy use.
Summary: Being an Eco-friendly Gym Makes Good Business Sense
Being an eco-friendly gym can help elevate your brand and differentiate you from other gyms. Demonstrating your commitment to the environment and social responsibility can help improve relationships with employees and customers, attract new prospects, and reflect a positive image in your community. It’s time to incorporate sustainability into your business practice because maintaining our physical health relies on preserving the planet’s health too.
About the Author
GBB Green Ambassador
Monika Metro is a content writer for Green Business Bureau with a passion for conservation, ecology, climate change, and giving back to her community. She has recently graduated from Virginia Wesleyan University with a BS in Biology and Environmental Studies. She will soon continue her studies in the Climate Change Science and Policy Graduate Program at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Outside of academics, Monika loves to travel, play soccer, hike, and is an avid yogi.