If only freeze pops came in silicone tubes
The summer can be a hectic time. Between the kids being out of school, travel plans, and just trying to keep a cool head through the hot months, it can be all too easy to rely on disposable, one use, plastic products.
It’s almost effortless to throw a few juice boxes in the cooler for a day at the pool, or to pack a weekend’s worth of water bottles for your camping trip.
But I’m going to show you a few simple swaps that are actually just as easy and will have you relying on plastic a little bit less this summer.
Let’s see the tips!
Tip #1 Swap Out Your Straws
Summertime is the perfect time to relax outside with a nice tall glass of iced tea. And how are you going to drink your beverage of choice from your reclined position in the backyard hammock without an equally nice, tall straw?
There’s no need to rush out for a box of the disposable plastic variety, the reusable stainless steel version will last you many more sips!
You’ve probably seen me recommending these all over the place by now, and it’s because I. Love. Them. I’ve even been known to take them with me to restaurants. After a quick rinse in the bathroom sink, they’re good as new!
Bambu has a bunch of great options in bamboo, glass, or- get this- straw. They have straw straws. There are even some that are big enough for your smoothie or bubble tea.
If you need enough for a crowd, Preserve sells some colorful paper options that are easily biodegradable.
Tip #2 Keep Reusable Bags in Your Car
In the summer months, farmers markets seem to pop up everywhere, and you just never know when you’re going to see one while you’re out and about.
To avoid that awkward moment at checkout when your hands are full of peaches and you have nothing to put them in, carry a stash of cloth bags in your car. That way, you’ll have them wherever you go, and you won’t be tempted to give in to the cashier’s compassionate offer of a plastic grocery bag!
The Tote Project has a bunch of cute bags that will hold a ton of produce, or, you know, whatever you want to put in them.
Tip #3 Get Attached to Your Water Bottle
In summer’s rising temperatures, it’s important to stay hydrated! I like to bring my water bottle with me everywhere I go, especially if I know I’ll be outside for a while.
There’s nothing like the desperation of thirst on a hot, sunny day to make you cave and buy bottled water.
But you can eliminate the need for them (and save yourself a little money) by remembering to take your water bottle with you wherever you go. It helps to choose a style that you really like, and if necessary, fill it up and leave it by the door so that you’re sure to see it before you leave the house.
Cotopaxi has some colorful options for hot or cold drinks.
Tip #4 Picnic Without Plastic
A nice family picnic (or perhaps a romantic one) is a wonderful way to enjoy the great outdoors. With a little planning, you can also make it a plastic-free experience.
Of course, the particulars will depend on what you plan to bring, but a few tools like beeswax wraps, glass containers, and metal tiffins can take the place of plastic bags, plastic wrap, and plastic tupperware.
If you don’t trust your kids with glassware, Cotopaxi sells some stainless steel cups and mugs that can really take a beating.
Tip #5 Pick Up Plastic Trash Wherever You See It
By now, we’ve all had the unfortunate experience of being outside, enjoying nature, when we suddenly notice that the otherwise beautiful landscape is marred by plastic trash and other litter.
It’s sad, and you’re doing your part to end it by refusing single-use plastics, but if you want to invest a little bit more in a plastic-free summer next year, I encourage you to start picking up litter wherever you see it and disposing of it properly.
You could pack it up with your own trash on a camping trip, pick up a few pieces when you’re out for a run or walking the dog, or even just bend down to pick up the trash that’s lying on the ground literally right beside a trash can.
Don’t feel like you have to pick up ALL the trash in an area to make a real difference. Every little bit helps!
A freelance writer working with bighearted businesses who want to better our world.