Summer time is finally here, and with it comes camping adventures, beach visits, road trips, and so much more. Venturing out into the world each summer brings with it opportunities to have lots of fun, and to be more wasteful than we want to be. Want to move a little closer to being zero waste this summer? Here are five simple ideas to get you going.
Forget About Single-Use Plastics
It seems like every summertime outdoor activity comes with an array of single-use throw away items. Plastic utensils, plastic straws, plastic bags, single-use plates, single-use cups: the list goes on and on and on! Weaning yourself off of these single-use items is probably the biggest impact you can have. Will people think you’re weird for bringing your own fork to a barbecue? I mean, yeah, maybe a little, but the Earth will thank you.
When You Can’t Go Zero-Waste, Choose Recyclable
It’s next to impossible to fully get away from single-use stuff. Chances are, you’re going to wind up using a plastic solo cup at some point this summer. If you fall off the zero waste wagon, don’t beat yourself up. When you have to go single-use, try to use items that can be recycled.
Compost Your Scraps
Some food waste is an inevitability. You’re not going to eat the husk from your corn-on-the-cob or the peel of your banana, right? The U.S. EPA estimates that around a quarter of our total food waste could be composted and diverted away from the landfill. Composting is a sustainable, Earth-friendly way to deal with your food scraps. Plus once it’s all broken down, you get awesome, rich soil for your garden!
Bring A Bag
On average, a single-use plastic bag is only used for around 12 minutes before it’s discarded. In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that more than 380 billion plastic bags are used each year. These bags can get stuck in trees, end up in the ocean, and can harm wildlife. And besides, who wants to be swimming at a beach with a bunch of bags in the water? When you’re hitting the grocery store for all your beach trip snacks, bring your own bag.
Always Pack It Out
Perfection isn’t practical (or encouraged!) and we’ll always have slip ups on our zero waste journeys. There will be moments that you have no choice but to use a plastic bag, or throw your compostables in the trash. If you’re creating waste, try to create as little as possible. If you’re out in nature, like at the beach or a campsite, always pack out what you pack in. Don’t leave anything behind. And no, burning things in a fire pit doesn’t count as getting rid of the waste!
It’s a big task trying to be zero waste, but with a little bit of commitment, you can get yourself on track to waste nothing this summer!
Looking for more zero-waste inspo? Check out our guide to plastic-free living.
Want to learn more about the single use plastic crisis? We’ve got you covered.