Summer is only just heating up!
The list of fun summer activities is endless, from cookouts to beach days and pool parties to picnics. But all this summer fun comes with an uptick in the use of disposable plates, cups and utensils. And don’t forget all those popsicle wrappers.
Of the 40 million tons of plastic waste generated in the United States last year, only five to six percent—or about two million tons—was recycled, according to a new report conducted by environmental groups Beyond Plastics and The Last Beach Cleanup. While summertime fun tends to equal more waste, here are a few tips to help you and your waste beat the heat, stay cool and recycle smarter.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
When planning a picnic or beach day, make the choice to reduce your plastic waste by using reusable containers for packed lunches and snacks. Ditch paper lunch bags and opt for reusable ones or coolers to keep food cold to reduce food waste.
Hydration is key this time of year, so don’t forget those reusable water bottles that often come with an added bonus—insulation to keep your drinks colder longer!
If you’re hosting a backyard pool party, pick up some easy to care for and non-breakable plates and cups to minimize single-use supplies; a purchase that can reduce waste and save you money in the long run.
Make your own popsicles
Popsicle molds are easy to find both online and in stores. Not only will making popsicles at home reduce plastics wrapper waste, but it’s also a fun activity to do with your family. Get creative and mix and match flavors. The combinations are endless!
Get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine
Summer weather provides us multiple opportunities to reduce energy and fuel use. Choose activities with your family that get you outside and away from screens. Plan an outing to a local festival or farmers market to support your community and reduce the carbon footprint of your food. Forgo the car and walk or bike when your destinations allow.
Hang your clothes on the line
Year round, washers and dryers are the appliances that households use most each week. While washers are usually necessary for effectively cleaning clothes, we can reduce our use of dryers in the summer. Hang a clothesline outside to dry your clothes in the warm summer breeze and reduce your energy use.
Pick up your waste
Always make sure to leave places better than you found them. When at a beach or park, ensure you take any waste you brought and pick up any additional bottles or plastic that may be in your area. Recycling correctly makes a big difference!