Summer has always been my absolute favorite season. Going to the beach with friends, cozying up by the campfire to make s'mores, and taking trips to exciting, new places are just some of the memories that pop into my head. But always being on-the-go during the summertime can often mean choosing convenience over sustainability.
It’s no secret that we are in a climate crisis thanks to human activity affecting Earth’s ecosystems, and one of the main culprits is plastic. Once hailed as a new, ingenious material that was super durable (which is great for long-term use, don’t get us wrong!), we are now beginning to see the ugly reality of single-use plastic items lasting forever. With plastic bags, disposable utensils, plastic beverage bottles, and flimsy plastic packaging being used so ubiquitously, our planet is now inundated by piles of plastic trash sitting in landfills and swimming around our oceans.
But summer doesn't have to mean trashing our planet. There are a few simple ways to keep your adventures convenient and cool without enlisting the help of single-use plastics. Remember, it's not about quitting plastic 100% on your first try, but doing whatever you can reasonably do to make an impact.
Here are five tips on how to reduce your plastic use without compromising fun!
1. Always be prepared
It wouldn’t be summer without spontaneous trips! Whether you’re visiting a faraway country, camping upstate, or simply checking out the newest neighborhood park, a little bit of preparation can make your impromptu adventures much cleaner and greener. A reusable water bottle and tote bag are a no-brainer as they are more convenient than the plastic kind anyway. Reusable straws and utensils are also easy to carry around in your travel bag so you aren’t stuck reaching for those plastic-wrapped packs of plastic cutlery at the airport or feeling guilty about getting an ice-cold drink. And if you’re planning on doing some picnicking, a stainless steel tupperware and a cloth napkin are great ways to keep plastic out of nature!
2. Party plastic free
The best part of summer are the backyard BBQ’s and home cookouts, but these kinds of gatherings can get pretty plasticky, pretty fast. When it’s your turn to host, avoid the temptation to buy a bunch of disposable plastic cups & cutlery and opt for reusables instead. We know, it means a lot more dishes for you at the end of the night, but at least you’ll cut down on time spent taking out the trash! Check out all of our tips on how to host an eco-friendly party here.
3. Green your beauty routine
Take a look at your core summer beauty products - how much plastic are they packaged in? Everything from sunscreen and moisturizer to toners and cleansers can come wrapped in single-use plastics, but that doesn’t mean that yours have to! Check your options from brands that don’t use plastic, and bonus points for buying products that use all-natural ingredients as well. We highly recommend our stockist, Credo Beauty, for green and plastic free options other than Shea Brand, and we’ve shared more here on how to get an eco-friendly beauty routine!
4. Shop plastic free fashion
There is nothing we love more than summer sundresses, beach coverups, and all of the colorful swimsuits & activewear. But did you know that a lot of fashion trends are made from plastic? If you are shopping for some cute new summer looks, look for fabrics that are 100% natural and biodegradable, like cotton, linen, or hemp. These fabrics do not contribute to microplastic pollution in our oceans and they also happen to be awesome for summer because they are breathable and soft on your skin. If you need to purchase something that is made from polyester (which is made from plastic!), be sure to seek out brands that are utilizing recycled polyester made from old fishing nets or water bottles as that supports initiatives to clean up existing plastic pollution.
5. Share the love!
While we commend you on the amazing small steps you are taking to get rid of plastic pollution this summer, we recognize that positive change can only happen when collective action takes place. That means that whether you slip up on bringing your straw to the café or not, the number one thing you can do is to speak up and share the plastic free love with your friends, coworkers, and family. Talk to them about the habits you are adopting so you can share notes, but be sure to remind them that, ultimately, it’s up to politicians and big businesses to really make the waves of change that we need to clean up our planet.
Going plastic free is a journey, which is why we are always sharing our tips on how to live sustainably! Do you have any ideas to add? We’d love to hear them in the comment section!