Beach days, tan lines, hikes and late sunsets… it’s finally Summer! Nothing’s better than getting some much-needed sun after the long winter months. And with the good weather comes lots of exciting, outdoorsy activities like swimming, camping, hiking, kayaking, and picnics. If you’re trying to do Plastic-Free July like our team is, it can be tough to make sure all of these activities have a low impact on our planet!
Here’s 7 ways you can prioritize our planet while still enjoying everything the summer has to offer:
1. Use non-chemical sunscreen
Wearing sunscreen is an important part of almost every summer activity - did you know you can actually help the environment by using non-chemical all natural sunscreens?
Mineral sunscreen is a non-chemical type of sunscreen that creates a physical barrier between your skin and the sun’s rays. Synthetic sunscreens, on the other hand, contain chemical ingredients that absorb the UV rays from the sun and contain ingredients that can irritate the skin.
Non-Chemical sunscreens are also more earth-friendly. The chemical UV filters oxybenzone and octinoxate have been banned in many different places because they have been found to contribute to bleaching coral reefs.
Switching to mineral, non-chemical sunscreens will protect you and the planet from harm!
2. Purchase sustainable snacks with zero-waste packaging
Snacking and summer go hand in hand - let’s do our part to ensure that even our snacks are sustainable!
Plastic packaging waste makes up around 30% of all waste in the US every year. This means that if we can reduce or eliminate our use of snacks that come in plastic packaging, we’ll be able to have a huge impact on how much waste is produced every year!
Herbaland’s new Snacks with Benefits line comes in packaging made from 100% compostable materials. This means that all of the components of the packaging will break down into organic materials that can be used in compost to foster the growth of new plants in your garden!
3. Shop local - visit a farmers market!
Supporting local businesses is not only great for our local economy, it can also be more sustainable than purchasing products from big multinational companies!
Farmer’s markets are great places to find new brands or local small businesses to support. Here in Vancouver, there are SO many options to check out! A few of our favorite farmers markets include:
4. Prioritize local travel
Traveling locally will not only save you money, but also reduce large carbon emissions from car and airplane travel!
Try checking out your local sights and doing a staycation wherever you live - you might start to appreciate your city in a new way!
While traveling locally, you can also prioritize sustainably by trying out the “Slow travel” trend and go less places but spend more time in each. This is a great way to maximize your time in each place while reducing your overall environmental impact!
5. Use a metal straw for slushy summer drinks
One simple eco-friendly swap for the summer is bringing your own reusable metal straws instead of using the plastic or paper straws provided. Metal straws are a great alternative for paper straws since they won’t fall apart!
Plastic straws create a lot of unnecessary waste that will end up either in a landfill or our oceans, where it can be hazardous to sea creatures. Even when plastic straws do break down, they will still remain in our ecosystems as microplastics that take much much longer to degrade and can cause many adverse effects.
Choose to reuse and purchase a reusable metal straw set this summer!
6. Avoid using plastic bags
Bringing a reusable tote to the grocery store is another great way to reduce your waste, all year long!
Don’t forget to leave some extra reusable bags in your car or by your front door so you don’t forget to bring them to the grocery store! As an added bonus, reusable totes can be a super cute and convenient bag option for picnics, beach days, and walks.
Take your sustainability to the next level by creating your own reusable bags from extra fabric such as old curtains or tablecloths that you may have lying around. Reduce, reuse, recycle!
7. Check out your local zero-waste stores - here are some of our favourites
Last but not least, create new habits this summer by visiting your local zero waste store for waste free grocery shopping!
Going to zero-waste stores is a great way to support local businesses while reducing unnecessary waste as it helps reduce your consumption of plastic packaging and plastic bags while also ensuring that you don’t purchase any more food than what you need.
Some of our favorite zero-waste stores include:
Have a waste-free summer!