Green Tips: Summertime Edition

Green Tips | August 9, 2018

During these hot days of summer, many of us crank up the air conditioning, get in the car for a road trip, take a boat ride, or buy disposal products for cookouts and parties. While these are great summer activities, they can take a toll on the environment and contribute to our greenhouse gas emissions. But you can make these last days of summer a little greener by following some of our tips below.

Always remember to set the thermostat to 78 degrees or higher. Make sure your air conditioning thermostat is set to 78 degrees or higher while at home. Not only will you decrease your emissions, you’ll also save money on your utility bills. Raising your thermostat higher than even 78 degrees will save you 6 – 8% on your electric bill per every degree. Turn off your air conditioner while you’re away from home to avoid an unnecessary drain on resources. If you can, use ceiling fans or standing fans instead of your air conditioner.

Always carry a reusable water bottle. It’s easy to get dehydrated during these hot summer months. Instead of spending $1 or more on a plastic disposable water bottle, make sure to carry and keep refilling a reusable one. About 50 billion plastic water bottles are used each year, and about 80% of those will end up in a landfill. You can make a difference with a reusable bottle and by encouraging others to do so as well.

Use biodegradable sunscreens. Between 4,000 and 6,000 tons of sunscreen is washed off of swimmers and onto coral reefs each year. Additional sunscreen pollutants can reach the ocean due to wastewater in coastal locations. When you shower and wash off your sunscreen, the chemicals seep into the sewer, which is treated with chemicals before that waste is pumped back into lakes and oceans. Seventy-five percent of the world’s coral reefs are at risk because of this increase of contaminants and human disturbance on our ecosystems.

Consider buying biodegradable sunscreens like Badger or Stream2Sea to protect the surrounding ecosystem while preventing sunburns.

Choose a green mode of transportation. Try carpooling with friends instead of driving alone. If carpooling isn’t an option, hop on public transportation, take a walk, or go for a bike ride. Here are more tips on environmentally-friendly transportation options.

Book a greener resort. All-inclusive resorts provide travelers with a surplus of food and drinks, resulting in a greater strain on resources and large amounts of food waste. Vacationers at all-inclusive resorts consume significantly more food and energy than the average local. Consider spending more time in the local community or opting for a more eco-friendly resort. Be conscious of how much you consume and throw away. Examples of eco-friendly resorts and hotels can be found here and here.

Leave no trace. Use your free time this summer to help with a beach or river cleanup. Check with our partners Choose Clean Water Coalition and Delaware River Watershed Initiative for possible river cleanup events throughout the year. You can also pick up trash wherever you see it while on a hike, on the beach, during a picnic, or as you’re walking down the street. Make sure to leave the place you’re visiting better than when you found it.

Whatever you choose to do in these last few weeks of summer, make sure you consider its impact on the environment and enjoy!

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