Spring sports season is here. In our house that means soccer — and it means I need to send out calls far and wide to friends and family in search of gently used cleats, shin guards and soccer balls for the kids. Many friends are putting out similar calls for softball helmets, baseball bats, basketballs, skateboards, stopwatches, running shoes, and every other piece of sporting gear you can imagine.  

If your child has a fervor for track and field or a flair for football, it makes sense to invest in the equipment they need to play. But, if they like to dabble intermittently in various sports, consider borrowing from friends, purchasing gently used items from a thrift store, or renting. It will save you money and keep your closet from becoming a hobby graveyard. 

Another option: If you can't borrow, rent or purchase used equipment, take a look at some of the green sports equipment that's available in stores. Fair Trade Sports’ products, which include balls for soccer, rugby, basketball, volleyball and football, are fair trade certified and made from sustainably harvested rubber. Loaded Boards uses bamboo cores in all their skateboards. Some of models of Brooks running shoes are made from recycled materials and contain biodegradable mid-soles. For more intense sports, check out Bamboo Surfboards, a trailblazer in the field of sustainable outdoor sporting equipment, and Walden kayaks, distributed by Earth Friendly Kayaks, that are made with recycled (and recyclable) materials.

And when your kids have outgrown their gear or moved on to another sport, considering donating their sports equipment to Sports Gift, a nonprofit group that provides sports gear to underprivileged children around the world.

Eco sports equipment
How to borrow, beg, and buy eco-savvy spring sports equipment.