Sustainability Over the Summer

Tips and Tricks on How to be Environmentally-Friendly over the Summer

By Hammond Green Team Members

Sustainability from Home

Summer’s here! While a few people might be planning to travel this year, the pandemic has botched other people’s plans, so you might be staying home. If that’s the case, why not practice sustainability while you’re at it! Here’s a list of ten eco-friendly tips you can implement from the comfort of your home during your break:

  1. Let in some light: Rather than flipping on a light switch during the day, open up the blinds and use the sun as a light source instead to conserve energy.
  2. Start doing all your energy-heavy chores off peak hours: Do your laundry, dishes, vacuuming, cooking, etc. at night to help cut your energy bill and prevent your home from heating up unnecessarily during the day.
  3.  Skip the dryer and hang your clothes out to dry: To conserve excess energy consumed by a dryer machine, take advantage of your backyard, if possible, and hang your clothes up to dry.
  4. Start your own home garden:  Get into gardening this summer and grow your own fresh fruits and vegetables! They’re organic, environmentally-friendly, and taste much fresher. Here are a few ideas for vegetables and herbs to plant in July!
  5. Not into gardening? Consider buying some indoor plants: They’ll liven up your home and also help fight indoor air pollution, which is often worse than most of us realize. Here’s a helpful list of some gorgeous indoor plants!
  6. Stay hydrated with a reusable bottle: This one is super simple! Hot summer days can make you thirsty, so make sure to quench your thirst using a reusable water bottle rather than a disposable one. You should aim to use BPA-free reusable water bottles or even mason jars! While you’re at it, consider using reusable containers and utensils for picnics and barbecues, too!
  7. Close your shades: Temperatures are getting warmer and air conditioners are constantly on—but that doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Before you reach for the AC, consider a more sustainable option. You can keep the temperature down in your home by opening windows at night to let in the cooler air, then closing them first thing in the morning and lowering your shades to block the hot sun and take advantage of your house’s insulation. 
  8. Go green when grilling: If you’re planning to have barbeques with friends or family over the summer, use a propane gas grill which burns cleaner than wood or charcoal grills.
  9. Unplug: Relax and take time to detach from all your electronics. Make sure to also unplug your power cords when you aren’t using them to conserve energy! A little bit of energy saving goes a long way!
  10. Help out pollinators: This summer, pitch in to help protect our crucial pollinators! You can do this by planting pollinator-friendly plants or by setting up a bee house. Here are a few plants to attract pollinators and how to make a DIY bee house. If you can’t make one, buy one!

Going Green While Traveling

Here are a few ways to reduce, recycle and reuse when traveling:

  • Headphones: Bring your own pair of headphones if possible instead of using the ones that are provided. In this way you can help reduce waste. 
  • Reusable water bottles and cups: You’d be surprised to see how friendly reusable water bottles and cups can be to the environment. Reusable water bottles and cups aren’t expensive at all. Instead of grabbing new bottled water each time you feel thirsty, why not just refill your cups and bottles instead?
  • Reusable utensils: Make it personal, own your own reusable utensils, help reduce waste!
  • Solar power: If you plan on doing activities outdoors, like camping, you should definitely get a reusable solar battery pack to help reduce battery waste. 
  • Reusable bags: We always want to stay away from plastics as much as possible, so make sure you always bring a reusable bag with you when traveling!
  • Toiletries, cosmetics, and personal items: You don’t have to bring whole personal items and cosmetics with you, instead, you could put them into reusable travel size containers, e.g shampoos, body wash, hand soap, perfumes, etc.
  • Switch from a disposable mask to a reusable mask: You could play around with colors and match it up with your outfits making it more fashionable, while also helping the environment!
  • Books: If you read the books and magazines provided on flights, always be kind enough to return them so others can reuse them. You won’t have to bring them along with you and eventually trash them, or you could read online on your phone.

Visiting National Parks

During the summer tourism is one of the largest revenue streams because millions of tourists visit national parks globally. However, when people visit parks, they frequently trash them. This can cause environmental damage in a variety of ways and people may be oblivious of their actions. Here are five things to remember when visiting national parks:

  1. Visit the visitor center: Simply visiting the visitor center will provide you with further information about how to preserve the park. The visitor center’s informative exhibits will present trails and sights that you might miss.
  2. Ride the park shuttles: Riding in a shuttle allows you to take in more scenery, avoid traffic, and not worry that much about parking. This will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions to help reduce global warming. 
  3. Don’t feed animals: Our food is not healthy for animals at the park because their diets are different from ours. If they consume the food we offer them they will get sick or die.
  4. Don’t litter: Animals can’t differentiate between food and wrappers, so they will eat the plastic or paper wrapper which will make them severely sick. In addition, the trash will ruin the beautiful appearance of parks.
  5. Bring reusable items: Reusable bags, straws, and refillable water bottles all contribute to a reduction in the quantity of waste that ends up in parks and the ocean. This also contributes to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions connected with manufacturing, loading, packing, and shipping of bags, straws, and water bottles.

Being Eco-Friendly at Beaches

Nothing is better than spending a hot summer day relaxing by the ocean. Every year millions of vacationers worldwide head to the beach to cool off. While having fun in the sun, it is important to remember the biodiversity and wildlife indigenous to that area. Here are 7 ways to be eco-friendly at the beach:

  1. Never pick up live animals; this may cause them to bite, sting, or poison you in self-defense
  2. Never feed wildlife such as fish or seagulls, human food may cause illness.
  3. Use environmentally friendly sunblock. Sunscreens often use ingredients that are harmful to oceans and corals, when shopping looking for sun blocks that say “reef-friendly”.
  4. Be sure to throw away all trash when leaving the beach.
  5. Pack food items in reusable containers. Plastic wrap and bags can easily be blown away, and often end up in the ocean.
  6. Do not use bath products when showering outdoors. The water from outdoor showers can run into the beach resulting in shampoo and other soap products contaminating the ocean water.
  7. Although collecting seashells is tempting, it is best to leave them where you found them. Shells serve as a home and hiding place for the animals and help to stabilize beaches and seagrass. Taking them home negatively affects the environment and can damage the ecosystem.

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