Written by: Darby Frey
Who doesn’t love summer? It’s filled with longer days, warmer weather, and more sunshine. Summer is also accompanied by picnics, travel, farmers markets, and long days outside. While those are all great things that we look forward to each year, these fun days can be full of disposables, so let’s take a look at how to make some sustainable swaps this summer so that you’re prepared for a summer of eco-friendly fun.
Create a summer sustainability kit - and bring it everywhere! No matter if you’re hopping on a plane or headed for a picnic, this kit will come in handy all summer long. Here’s a few kit suggestions to pack -
- A reusable water bottle - preferably plastic free - Staying hydrated is important and when it’s hot, it can be so easy to run into a convenience store and buy a plastic water bottle, but if you’re prepared, you can fill up your reusable water bottle at a water fountain or water bottle filling station. Quick tip - if you are flying on a plane this summer, make sure it’s empty before you head through TSA. You can fill it up after TSA, before boarding your plane.
- Hand sanitizer - Even though Covid-19 restrictions are beginning to lift, let’s still stay safe and remain diligent! Remember to pack a reusable mask in your kit for the businesses and venues that still require masking.
- Reusable cutlery - Personally, I prefer bamboo but stainless steel works great as well. Most of them even come with cases so that they can stay clean until you’re ready to chow-down. This way, when you’re grabbing a bite from a food truck or enjoying takeout to the beach, you can say no to the plastic alternatives. If you’re in need of some, you can stop by Scoop Marketplace to buy a set. We have reusable bamboo utensil kits as well as utensils from Albatross that are made from recycled razor blades.
- Reusable straw - Maybe this is just me, but I dream of iced coffee all day every day in the summer. 95% of the time, I find myself fighting the temptation because I don’t want to use more plastic. If that temptation gets the best of you, have your own straw on hand so that’s one less piece of plastic your using while enjoying that delicious cup of coffee. But, be on the lookout, some coffee shops are once again letting you bring your own cup in again, for them to fill up. In which case, add a coffee cup to your summer kit!
- A pocket size reusable bag that folds up - These are great so that you’re always ready for a quick trip to the grocery store or a quick stop at your local farmer’s market, so that you don’t have to carry all your groceries out in your arms when you decide to make a spur of the moment stop.
A small container to pack up leftovers from restaurants - Eating out, especially outside in the summer is great! But, restaurants can often be very guilty of using terrible packaging for leftovers, like Styrofoam, which is horrible for our planet. So bring your own container, this can be your classic Tupperware or Pyrex, or even just a jar you cleaned and saved to reuse. Have no guilt, no food waste, and then have lunch for the next day!
Stay protected from the sun - The sun is strong and unfortunately, our ozone layer is thin, so it’s important to slather up on the sunscreen. However, not all sunscreen is created equal. Be particular when choosing a sunscreen because they are often full of toxins and chemicals that are harmful to your body and our beautiful coral reefs. Be mindful when choosing a sunscreen and avoid the main harmful chemicals such as: oxybenzone, octinoxate, avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene. If you’re ready to step your game up a bit farther, you can buy sunscreen in bulk at places like Scoop, where you can refill bottles so that you can also avoid plastic as well!
Say no to disposables - We find ourselves with excess disposable when traveling. That means, when you head into a hotel or a rental property, bring your own shampoo, conditioner, and other toiletries so that you’re not tempted to crack open those tiny little plastic bottles, even though they may be free. Or maybe you’re staying local and you’re heading to a festival or a farmers market. That’s where you can really be tempted by those free handouts. You may think, it’s just a piece of paper or just a plastic frisbee, but why take it if you’re not going to use it? And might I add - we don’t always use it to its full lifespan. Taking a free ball, throwing it once for your dog and then trashing it or only using half that tiny shampoo bottle before tossing it doesn’t really fit into the category of “Using” it to it’s full lifespan, so let’s say no to the freebies this summer!
Thrift Shop - If you’ve been thinking about going green, thrift shopping probably comes to the top of every list, and I get it - it’s great! But it also takes a lot of time and commitment to always find what you’re looking for. The good news is that many companies now have second-hand online websites, which are convenient when you’re in a pinch. For example, REI and Patagonia, 2 popular companies for outdoor summer gear, now sell second-hand items online. You can also try checking out your local thrift stores and asking them to give you a call when particular items or sizes you're seeking are in stock. It may not be the quickest option, but it’s great for things that you don’t need urgently.
We hope that you have a sustainable summer full of long sunny days! If you’d like a hand in your sustainability efforts this summer, subscribe to our brand new subscription box - the Scoop Swap box. A monthly subscription program that helps you ditch those disposables with sustainable solutions. Click here to learn more.