As a pole dancer, it’s hard to find environmentally friendly products. Whether we’re working with plastic grip bottles, glitter, or lycra fabric, it can be a challenge to find alternatives.
Many of us in the pole dance community are concerned about the environment, especially as we bring ourselves into the new decade and catastrophic weather events are occurring with higher frequency.
That begs the question: is there a way to become more environmentally conscious as a pole dancer?
Every small action matters – and simple awareness is important, even if we aren’t able to implement everything to perfection (who can?) so we’ve taken the time to compile a list of ways you can be more eco-friendly in your pole dancing:
Eco-Friendly Dietary Choices
As pole dancers, it’s important that we take care of our bodies. A major source of that care comes from our diets.
What we eat fuels us, and chances are, you’ve noticed that pole dancing is an incredible workout that puts a certain kind of demand on your body that only proper nutrition can meet.
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to agricultural practices and the environment is how unsustainable cattle farming is, not only in terms of supply and demand, but also how resource-intensive it is in on the land.
Now, this isn’t to say that you should go 100% raw organic vegan in your diet. If you want to, then try it out! If not, there are other ways. In fact, while cattle farming is one of the major industries responsible for deforestation in the Amazon, soy and palm oil production and just as responsible. (1)
The goal is the be more mindful of where your food is sourced, whether it is meat, plants, or dairy.
Buying local is a great step in the right direction for many people.
Avoid pre-packaged foods when you can.
When possible, opt for local, organic produce and grass-fed local meats.
Not only will the environment thank you, but your body will too!
A Pole Dancer’s Power in Choosing Eco-Friendly Glitter
Who doesn’t love a good spritz of glitter, or glitter in our makeup?
Maybe your grip even contains glitter!
Unfortunately, glitter is full of microplastics that are incredibly harmful to the environment.
Any time you use a product with glitter, these microplastics eventually find their way into the ocean and other water systems, whether it’s going down the sink drain in the form of makeup, or the bathtub in the form of glitzy soap or pole grip.
With so many people using glitter on a regular basis, the rate at which it’s appearing in our oceans is alarming. There has even been a call for an official ban on glitter, which has recently gained a lot of popularity. (2)
Microplastics, as the name suggests, are incredibly fine pieces of plastic. Like most single-use plastic, microplastics find their way into the world’s oceans, where they contribute to vast country-sized patches of waste that take centuries to dissolve.
If you just can’t forego using glitter in your pole routines, like many pole dancers who are attracted to sparkle and shine, consider using materials made from plant-based glitter.
It is important to note that some plant-based or “bio-glitters” are not bio-degradable at all, as many plant-based glitters are still coated with plastics, and bio-glitters have become more of a marketing term than an advertisement for bio-degradable solutions, so always check with the manufacturer’s FAQs to determine whether their glitter is proven to be bio-degradable before purchasing.
In additional to purchasing plant-based glitters, try not to wash the glitter away in the tub or sink. Instead, we recommend using a lint roller to grab up most of the glitter particles before you wash the day away. You’ll feel better knowing you’re not contributing to the local water system’s pollution, and you won’t have to worry about getting all the glitter particles out of the tub next cleaning day!
Recycle or Reuse: A Mantra Now Including Grip Aids and Shoes
Itac containers are small, frequently used, and very plastic, which means many of us are probably already throwing them into the recycling when we’re out of old grip.
Alternatively, once they’re washed, they do make great containers for storing homemade face creams. Grip bottles are great for storing lotions, travel-size hair products, and lots of other creams and liquids that see regular use. No more purchasing travel-size gear, helping you cut plastic waste on-the-go!
But it doesn’t stop with reusing old grip bottles.
You might be familiar with the trend of upcycling old trash, like reusing old furniture and painting it to look new, and things like that. Now, we’re going to work on upcycling – pole dancer edition!
If your Pleasers are down for the count, scuffed, or falling apart, you can give them a DIY glitter upgrade; using biodegradable glitter, of course!
If your old pleasers have a hollow platform, consider taking out the top sole, drilling a couple of small holes through the bottom to allow for water drainage, and turn it into a fun and stylish houseplant pot!
Help Pave the Way for Eco-Friendly Polewear
This is where things get a little tricky.
Lycra is the stock-standard fabric in polewear for good reason: it’s moisture-wicking, it’s supposedly more durable than rubber, and it’s not irritating to the skin!
Unfortunately, Lycra isn’t eco-friendly, either. It deposits microplastics into the water every time it is washed before and after manufacturing. These small microplastics bypass any filters in your washing machine and go straight down the water drain tube and back into the water system. (3) These microplastics are even speculated to be a worse pollutant than plastic bottles and bags.
But, right now, there’s no practical, common solution to eco-friendly fabrics that act like Lycra, and definitely not in the shapes and designs that we need and love as pole dancers.
We can, however, as pole dancers, choose to remain aware of this and petition polewear manufacturers to look for and offer eco-friendly alternatives that would still give us the functionality we need.
In the meantime, it is much more practical to look for eco-friendly alternatives in the gear we wear off the pole, such as leggings for stretch routines or warmups.
You can already see many yoga wear retailers moving more towards sustainable fabrics as it becomes popular with the yoga community, which means there is hope for the pole community affecting change in what fabrics we are wearing.
The next time you’re shopping for a new pair or leggings or pullover hoodie, try looking for non-synthetic, sustainable fabrics. These fabrics usually have different washing requirements – and in the case of pure cotton, much more prone to shrinkage – but a little extra effort goes a long way.
Not only that, but who can’t resist being hugged by a cloud of cotton? Natural fabrics tend to feel much better and less irritating on the skin than synthetics.
Don’t Trash Old Polewear, and Thrift New Gear!
There are plenty of pole dancer buy and sell groups on social media that, with a vigilant eye, will help you get used polewear – often for a fraction of the manufacturer price. Some items will even be sold from companies who no longer exist, which is what many people turned to doing when Bad Kitty unexpectedly and mysteriously went out of business.
When it comes time to clean out your closet and you find that you’ve never worn those heels, or you’re just not in love with that pole set anymore, you can host your own products on a pole dance thrift group and either set up a polewear trade, or sell it.
Additionally, consider buying from smaller polewear manufacturers who are getting their start on Facebook or Etsy instead of larger pole brands if you want to support individual dancers in their endeavors. You might even find sellers who would be willing to make polewear in different fabrics, or from old polewear you have now a as a way to “upcycle” old gear.
What Are You Doing to Become a More Environmentally Conscious Pole Dancer?
At the end of the day, we can’t be super-humanly eco-friendly in everything we do as pole dancers. That’s just the way society is right now.
What we can do, however, is be aware of what our goals are in becoming more environmentally conscious. We can vote with our money and petition our manufacturers to find new solutions. We can make small efforts count and help contribute to a greater cause.
A little effort is better than none at all.
So, we ask you:
What are you doing to become a more environmentally conscious pole dancer?
What are you doing different?
What good habits are you curating, and what bad habits are you throwing out?
Comment below and let us know – or tag us on social media @polepedia!
Dexter Galvin, Deforestation: A Business-Critical Issue for the World’s Biggest Buyers, retrieved from: https://www.cdp.net/en/articles/supply-chain/deforestation-a-business-critical-issue-for-the-worlds-biggest-buyers
Robin Andrews, Scientist Calls For Glitter To Be Banned Because It’s Awful For The Environment, retrieved from: https://www.iflscience.com/environment/scientist-calls-glitter-banned-awful-environment/
Mary Catherine O’Connor, Inside the Lonely Fight Against the Biggest Environmental Problem You’ve Never Heard Of, retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/oct/27/toxic-plastic-synthetic-microscopic-oceans-microbeads-microfibers-food-chain