Nicolette Griffioen’s shares her top eco-tips on being a more environmentally conscious athlete

1. My EcoSouLife coffee cup goes with me everywhere. Early morning training run? Smoothie in the fridge overnight for the road to work. Travelling to an event? Quick espresso en route to stay awake. Post-race recovery? Chocolate milkshake at the venue. I literally drink anything and everything from that cup! I don't even remember the last time I used a take-away cup...

2. My 1L Nalgene bottle is another constant companion. I stopped using plastic water bottles COMPLETELY over a year ago, and I haven't missed them at all. In fact, I can't actually believe water is still sold in plastic bottles in this day and age... It disgusts me when I attend an event where boxes of evil little plastic bottled waters emerge and are "generously" distributed to graciously accepting beings.

3. Over the past few years I've reduced the amount of meat I consume drastically. A much-debated topic, but I feel that this approach is more environmentally sustainable than the traditional South African diet. Reducing red meat demand reduces the need for extensive land areas to support livestock and the growing of their fodder, and although the case for intensive production can be argued, I'm not in favour from an animal welfare point of view. Adopting a more plant-based diet has also increased my awareness of a healthy diet as an athlete and inspired me to grow my own greens - something almost all of us can do, starting today!

4.  Minimalism is generally seen as a lifestyle change, and in running as a footwear choice. But there are also athlete-specific minimalist ways to reduce one's footprint on the planet. I like to think about the origin and longevity of any gear I'm considering purchasing. Is the producing company eco-friendly, giving back to conservation and using minimal plastic packaging? Is the item I'm buying going to last as long as possible, and where will it end up when I eventually discard it? Ideally, most sports and outdoor equipment should be durable enough to outlast one's need for the item, allowing it to be passed on to less fortunate runners for a good few more years. In this way we can reduce both consumption of resources in production, as well as landfill waste. Small effects I realize, but we need to start somewhere.

5. Share! This one I'm still working on... Although I feel very strongly about reducing, reusing, recycling and environmental conservation, I am not yet vocal enough in this fight to protect our earth. I feel that each of us, especially as passionate and active outdoors people, needs to take the time to share our knowledge, ideas and motivations with others in order to grow the movement towards sustainable living and a greener planet. So my goal in 2020 is to be more of an environmental activist - a Green Athlete"!