If you’re like me, being in nature sparks magical moments. One of my favorite places to be is running on a dirt trail with nothing but the view of a sunset and wild turkeys. But at times I notice something out of place, something caused by humans in their pursuit of spending time in these beautiful places. I often notice a plastic water bottle, cigarette butts, and yes even a GU Energy Gel packet.
Last week several GU staff joined an event with the Conservation Alliance and Save The Bay to restore these trails we love so much. We were divided into groups: One group picked up trash, and others planted native plants and the removed invasive ones. The group I was in helped remove invasive plants which were taking over the habitat destroying many native plants in the process. Although I was a part of this group I found it hard to also not collect trash along the way. The most prevalent trash items were cigarette butts, plastic bottle caps, and chip bags but you could also see lots of trash washed up along the shore and in the low-tide muck.
There were a handful of outdoor companies represented at this habitat restoration day, and it was astonishing how much we were able to help! Collectively we picked up 1230 pounds of trash, planted 1702 native plants, transplanted another 1200 plants and removed 2200 invasive plants. It was a great experience that demonstrated the power of an individual, a company, and an industry as a whole.
Leave no trace, that’s the foundation of sustainability. We must act in ways to accomplish our goals with respect for future generations to be able to accomplish theirs. If we want to continue experiencing these beautiful wild places we must do our part to help them be around for years to come. We know that GU has a trace but we are working to innovate and reduce this impact.
This year we have partnered with Terracycle to make our gel and chews packets nationally recyclable. This gives athletes an opportunity to TerraCycle their empty packets so they can be upcycled into items like a park bench, camp chairs and children’s playgrounds. Our partnership with The Conservation Alliance is another step that allows us to take accountability in keeping the outdoors as wild as it should be.
— Jess Carroll, GU Employee since 2013