Warmer temperatures and longer days mean summer is here!
This year, it’s estimated that more than 200 million Americans will hit the road for a summer vacation. A vacation away from home, however, does not have to mean a vacation from taking care of the environment. We’ve collected recommendations from environmental groups, local parks and recycling organizations and have listed below some recycling tips for summer vacation.
The famous three R’s to reduce waste—reduce, reuse, recycle—can be taken with you on your summer vacation.
- Stay hydrated on vacation and reduce waste by bringing along a reusable water bottle. Refilling the water bottle will eliminate the need to keep buying disposable plastic water bottles.
- Grab only what you need. At rest stops and food concessions, only take the condiment packages, napkins, maps, brochures, cutlery, free samples and coupons that you will really use. Taking more than you need means you will have to dispose of it later.
- Eliminate travel-sized mini toiletries by buying small reusable containers to fill with your favorite products.
- Opt for electronic tickets and boarding passes and online maps and guides to prevent the need to print paper.
- If you’ll be camping or picnicking, bring reusable cutlery, plates and cups that can be washed at park sites and reused. No more plastic cutlery and disposable plates.
- When shopping on your trip, save and reuse your bags. Plastic shopping bags are handy for packing muddy shoes, wet swimsuits and dirty laundry. Paper bags are good for carting food for picnics or snacks for car rides.
- Use guidebooks, maps and brochures from the library or friends who have travelled to your destination, so you don’t have to get new ones. Save and file these travel resources to use on a future trip or share with another traveler.
- Visit local farmers’ markets at your destination. Not only is it a fun activity where you can see the local culture, but there you can also buy bulk food without packaging to put in your own reusable containers.
- When on a road trip, pack extra bags or boxes as the designated “mobile recycling bin.”
- On a picnic or beach trip bring a cooler for your refreshments, and as you consume the contents, crush and place the empty plastic and metal cans and bottles back in the cooler so you can carry them to the nearest recycling bins.
- Read the label on sunscreen and bug spray to buy it in cans and bottles that can be recycled.
- Wherever you are, do not place plastic shopping bags in with recyclables. These bags get caught in recycling equipment and slow down the recycling process.
- Check the local recycling laws at your destination to learn how to properly dispose of your recyclables. Some municipalities require materials to be separated, but in some locations, plastic, metal, glass and paper can be commingled.
- Have a plan for trash while on a long walk or a hike, which usually means packing an extra trash bag to collect recyclables. Of course, don’t litter!
- For a fun group activity, for each day of your outing, choose a “designated recycler.” This person would be responsible for locating recycling bins and collecting recyclables. Usually, a younger family member will consider it a challenge and rise to the occasion!
Whether you are taking day trips, a cross-country road trip, or flying to your destination, with some planning, these recycling tips for summer vacation will help you not only reduce waste, but also save money. Finally, they will help protect the environment while we enjoy the summer holidays.
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