With each passing "Earth Day" we couldn’t help but think about how we could do our part to take care of our one Earth. The event celebrates the environmental movement and helps to bring awareness about pollution, climate change, and how we can keep a clean habitat.
Some recent statistics show that we have a long way to go to help our environment. The energy consumed in homes contributes to almost one-quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. More than 8 million people die every year due to air pollution.
So what do these things have to do with ice skating? Skating involves putting on some boots with blades and moving across the ice. It may not seem like it, but ice skating also impacts the Earth in its own way. As a company focused on serving skaters around the country (and the world), we know firsthand what it takes to run a large ice rink, and we know what it takes to start your own ice rink at home.
As the saying goes, every drop fills the bucket. Regardless of your niche, there is something you can do to help. You can go greener with ice skating. Here are ten tips that can help you do your part to stay green and nurture your environment while still enjoying your time on the ice.
1. Invest in Energy-Saving Bulbs For Your At-Home Rink
Since the 2020 pandemic, there has been a rise in at-home skating rinks. With public and private rinks closed, skaters needed some way to train or enjoy their favorite pastime. These at-home rinks, like their larger counterparts, take up their fair share of energy. For instance, the family could install floodlights for skating at night if the rink is outdoors. There may be other lighting options for indoor skating as well.
Installing energy-saving lightbulbs is one of the simplest (and best) ways to go green while skating. Eco-friendly light bulbs can save up to 75% of energy consumption compared to incandescent light bulbs. Swap them out on your floodlights or in the room for your indoor rink. You’ll even save some money on the electric bill!
2. Manage Energy Consumption When You’re Not Skating
Going green means taking care of your environment, even when you’re not skating. After packing up your skates for the day, make sure to do your best to keep energy consumption at a minimum. Start by switching off your eco-friendly lights when you’re done.
If you have a refrigerated ice rink, you’ll need to consume large amounts of energy even when you’re not on the ice. The ice rink has to stay on to keep the rink frozen, similar to the refrigerator in your kitchen. It’s constantly removing heat and adding cold through its compressor and chiller. Over the winter months, your ice rink can consume lots of energy. Make sure to invest in an energy-efficient refrigeration system. Get sound advice from the service provider, making sure to select the equipment that saves energy and helps the environment, even when it’s not in use.
3. Opt For A Home Synthetic Ice Rink Instead Of Refrigerated
If you’re concerned about the carbon footprint of a refrigerated rink, why not go for something else? A synthetic ice rink is a durable, polyethylene material that you can skate on with regular metal skates. Synthetic rinks are quite popular for malls and special events. Today, companies like ours have optimized these rinks to fit almost any space. The rink comes in panels that connect like puzzle pieces and can work on most flat surfaces.
That means no energy consumption, costly maintenance, and a healthier environment. Some refrigerated ice rinks are chilled with ammonia or R-22, both of which can be toxic. Leaks can sometimes go undetected, sending harmful gases into the air. These can also require more energy to pump through the rink (though there are more cost-effective options like brine or glycol). Opting for synthetic instead of refrigerated is the ultimate green approach to ice skating at home.
4. Natural Rinks Are Great, But You Can Save Water.
Okay, so you’ve decided to ditch the refrigerated rink and go for a natural rink instead. Natural rinks use the elements to freeze water, starting at the “first freeze” during winter. To make a natural rink, you’ll have to build a large frame, fill it with water and let the elements do their thing.
While it’s a lot more energy efficient than a refrigerated rink, there is still a large amount of water needed to fill the rink. The average American home of four uses about 260 gallons of ice water a day. A standard ice rink can take about 10,000 gallons or more. Switching to a synthetic ice rink can save gallons of water in filling and resurfacing your rink.
5. Encourage Friends And Family To Skate On Your Home Rink.
If you have an at-home rink, nothing’s better than having fun with your family playing hockey or figure skating. But you should also invite your friends! Not only is it fun to build relationships and competition on the ice, but it’s also a great way to go green. Rather than everyone going to separate rinks or using energy in their separate spaces, they can all save energy by skating on your rink instead.
6. Support Your Local Business For Equipment And Accessories
Whether you have a synthetic ice rink, refrigerated, or natural, you need more than ice to skate. Do you have the proper ice skates? If you’re playing hockey, you’ll need pucks, sticks, goals, and other training equipment. Where do you get your stuff? You can hop online and buy your stuff on Amazon, which can add to your carbon footprint. Or you can support your local skate business! Not only can you help your local business, but you can also get a little greener reducing the distance it takes to get your gear.
7. Consider recycling or donating old skates and equipment.
Recycling is one of the best ways to impact your environment. According to Eco-Friendly Habits, “for every one ton of recycled paper, 17 trees, 2 barrels of oils, and 4,100 kilowatts of energy are saved.” On the flip side, we produce millions of tonnes of plastic waste each year. If you have used skates or equipment, you can find ways to recycle or reuse your equipment. Or maybe you’ve outgrown your gently used gear.
Start by looking for organizations that take sports equipment donations. Or you can find ways to recycle or dispose of your gear sustainably. Take things a step further and gather used equipment from your friends and teammates that you can donate to others that need your help.
8. Use Green Or Energy-Saving Techniques When Maintaining Your Gear.
Taking care of your gear is another essential part of being a skater. You’ll have hockey clothing, figure skates, and other pieces of equipment. You can find simple ways to go greener while taking care of your gear. Use an energy-efficient washer and dryer. Clean your gear with organic cleaning products. If you need to resurface your synthetic ice rink, you can use our non-toxic, environmentally safe slip surface conditioner. These are simple ways to stay green and clean!
9. Save Time, Energy, And Money By Investing In A Skate Sharpener.
Sharpening your skates is a critical part of skating. You’ll need to keep them sharp, especially when you’re using synthetic ice. To do so will take you time and energy to head over to your local shop. Over time, sharpening your skates can add up. If you’re skating several times a week, consider investing in your own home sharpener. It seems like a small step, but it can help you be just a bit greener.
10. Support Sustainable Skating Equipment And Brands
Finally, you can do your part by investing in sustainable, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly products. For instance, some brands don’t involve animal skin or products in their materials. You can also try hockey uniforms or figure staking uniforms that use sustainable materials or make sure to lower their carbon footprint. Take the time to research and choose the brands that align with your choices.
Do Your Part To Go Greener With Ice Skating.
No matter what you do, there’s a way to make the Earth a better place. We continue to use more power and plastics than we need and everything we do can have a long-term impact on the environment. Some of the simple ways you can start is finding ways to recycle, reuse, save energy, and support those doing the same.
One of the best ways ice skaters can do this is to opt for synthetic ice. Synthetic ice saves significant energy compared to refrigerated ice and water compared to traditional rinks. At Polyglide Ice, we could do our part, like providing non-toxic, environmentally friendly products to our customers. You’ll also have the opportunity to skate longer throughout the year and invite others to your rink. What are some of the ways you’ll stay green?