Summertime and the living is easy. Head to the beach for a day of fun in the sun or while away a few hours for a walk in the woods. While some prefer a trip to the cottage, London has plenty of summer festivals to entertain folks with as well. Whether you are planning a camping trip, fishing excursion, or just a staycation close to home, there are choices you can make to make your summer vacation a little greener though. It’s easy to trim the trash from your summer fun with a little planning ahead of time. Here’s a few things to keep in mind to reduce waste this summer.

Ways to Reduce Waste this Summer

Reduce Waste at the Beach

A trip to the beach can be plenty of fun, but can also produce plenty of waste. Forget the single-use snacks and drink containers, flimsy sand toys, and other plastic debris that doesn’t stand up to the test of time. A little forethought in your planning can go a long way to reduce your waste.

Make better choices to reduce waste this summer

  • Pack a picnic lunch in reusable containers; veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, fresh fruit, homemade cookies, a coil of kolbasa, a light salad, etc.
  • Forget single-use water bottles and juice boxes. Bring your own refillable water bottle or a jug of juice to keep hydrated.
  • Take along your e-reader instead of a paperback book. You can read an infinite number of books without harming a tree. If you can’t give up your paperbacks though, stock up at a used book store beforehand to give new life to old books.
  • Ditch the plastic sand toys for sturdy alternates from around your house. Think metal or wooden spoons and bowls, a metal colander, a tin bucket, terracotta pots, and anything else that will stand up to the wear and tear of little hands digging in the sand. They are so much more practical then cheap plastic toys that break when you put any kind of pressure on them.
  • Pool toys are great, but sadly don’t often last. Choose items that don’t readily break down (pool noodles are awful for that), can be easily patched (thicker vinyl items), or that last longer (rubber inner tubes). Your pocket book will thank you in the long run.

Reduce Waste when Camping

Many of these examples can also be translated to camping trips, but there are other items to watch out for when getting ready to pack for an overnight trip into the great outdoors;

Nothing beats a night spent under the stars, especially when your waste footprint is reduced

Nothing beats a night spent under the stars, especially when your waste footprint is reduced

  • If your camp stove runs on propane, consider using larger propane cylinders that can be refilled. The smaller containers might be handy, but aren’t refillable. Make sure they get disposed of properly, so they don’t end up in landfills as well. Ontario Provincial Parks offer a recycling service for them within their parks.
  • When choosing a tent, select a good quality one. There’s nothing worse than sleeping in a leaky tent when you’re in the middle of the woods. And a broken zipper lets in creepy crawlies, which is not something you want to deal with in the middle of the night while you’re sleeeping
  • Same thing goes for tarps. You want one to offer cover from the sun or if it rains, but a cheap plastic tarp won’t last. Choose a heavy duty grade one or think about selecting canvas. That way you don’t have to replace it every year when it’s time to pack for the next camp trip.
  • As far as food and drinks go, make your menu and shop beforehand to reduce waste. Take along pre-washed veggies in a crisper, fruit that doesn’t have a rind or peel, and a large container for water for cooking. Buy your meat in larger quantities to avoid individual pre-packaged portions. Think about making larger portions of potatoes, pasta or rice and turn the leftovers into breakfast, a salad, or dinner the next night! That will save your fuel consumption too.

Other Ways to Reduce Waste this Summer

The City of London offers the Thirstmobile at various non-profit events throughout the summer

  • Take a water bottle to summer festivals. Most summer festivals in London host the Thirstmobile to refill your water bottle for free.
  • Ditch disposable plates and cutlery. Take your own cutlery, cups, and plates with you when invited to a neighbourhood barbeque, summer festival, or boating trip.
  • Invest in quality outdoor furniture. Cheap plastic stuff of any sort does not last, and outdoor furniture is a great example of this. Instead of going out to buy new patio furniture every year, invest in solid wood or metal pieces that will last you beautifully for years to come.
  • Think about converting your barbecue to natural gas and get rid of trips to the store to fill up propane tanks.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and contact Load of Rubbish if you’ve got junk to get rid of!