Summer is a go, and it’s time to get after it. Whether you’re posting up at the beach, remote camping, road tripping, or sitting lakeside, there are simple things you can do to help take care of our environment. Here’s a quick reference guide to protect our playground while you get your summer on!
Our Top Easy-to-Sustain Summer Tips
Don’t forget the Sunscreen!
But wait, are you using the same sunscreen you’ve used since the 90’s? It's a habit. We get it. Why change now? The most commonly used sunscreens are chemically based. According to Surfrider.org, even the FDA recommends “removing all chemical sunscreen ingredients from their list of “safe and effective” ingredients due to concerns about human health risks!” In addition to ingredients that are harmful to you, chemical sunscreens are toxic to fish, coral, and marine life. Check out Road Affair’s list of the 10 Best Reef-Safe Sunscreens That Protect You and the Environment.
Stock up on Reusables
If you are stocking up on the hibachi essentials for those fabulous summer tailgates, it’s time to incorporate some reusables into your grillin’ game! The possibilities are endless—from reusable grocery bags (my absolute favorite is the Jute Tote at Trader Joe’s) to reusable storage bags for food prep. According to NatureCode.org, “Reusable items are one of the strongest ways to fight pollution and the damage that we’re doing to this world, but it’s not just environmentally sound it actually hosts a ton of excellent benefits that are immediately gratifying, with no potential health risks for the user.” Bonus points if you already have a collection of glass jars with lids in your kitchen (aka free Tupperware). 😊
Are you using Biodegradable Soaps?
Between the sweat, the dirt, and sticky food, having soap handy in the summer is essential. Using any kind of soap can be harmful to the environment but some are better than others. Avoid using soaps near water sources and choose the biodegradable kinds! According to Greenbelly.co biodegradable soaps are “able to decompose by natural organisms and bacteria...within six months of use.” Whether you’re washing dishes at the campsite, cleaning up after a beach picnic, or freshening up lakeside, there are plenty of biodegradable liquid, bar, and wipe cleansers available!
Beach Day or Camping Trip
Make a personal motto to leave no trace, or even better, leave it cleaner than you found it. You know that last long look back when you are checking out of a hotel room to see if you left anything behind? Make it a habit when you spend the day at the beach or are vacating your campground. Any trash that can be picked up? Any empty bottles nearby? Check out The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace by the Center for Outdoor Ethics.
What can you do Right Now to incorporate more Sustainability into your every day?
Grab your favorite coffee mug (you know the one, it technically doesn’t have your name on it, but everyone in the house knows it’s your mug) as you head out for your Friday Starbucks run. (Which you totally deserve for making it through another week.)
Ditch the red Solo cups at your weekend Bar-B-Que or kegger and encourage everyone to BYO-Sippy Cup. You may just find you like ‘em better. 😉
Double check the labeling before throwing packaging in the trash. Did you know the plastic wrap on a megapack of water bottles may also be recyclable, in addition to the bottles’ lids? Keep an eye on what can be recycled wherever you are.
Let your server or barista know you’ll pass on the straw. Here’s why.
Start one new sustainable habit now, and then another, and another. Each season we ask ourselves, “What more can we do? What new sustainable materials or technology is available to us now that wasn’t before?” We discover something new each time.
Be curious. Do your own research and start conversations to see what others are doing. Sustainable living is a work in progress for all of us. We want to continue to enjoy the beach, the backcountry, and the good times for as long as possible. Incorporate new sustainable habits today and protect our shared playground! As Planet Earth’s favorite footwear to party with, you can trust we’ll be doing our part to keep the party rolling with sustainable practices.
By Wendi Murphy
Wendi has been with Freewaters since 2013. She wears multiple hats, working across many departments doing whatever needs to get done. An avid lover of adventure, the beauty of nature, and a keen observer of human behavior drives her in her constant pursuit of life’s greatest stories.