With school out and warmer weather finally here, Recyclebank –the incentives and behavior change platform focused on waste – is offering 10 tips to help kids and adults alike keep waste to a minimum during the warm weather.
1. Ditch the school supplies. But don’t just stick them in the trash. Inspect all those books, pencils and backpacks and decide what can be saved (a few tests and pieces of artwork), reused next year (barely-used notebooks) and restored (backpacks – even those with some wear and tear can be fixed up with a good vacuuming and some patches). Of course, some school supplies should just be recycled (like worksheets and even some books).
2. Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes! Okay, what Recyclebank really means is enjoy the season’s delicious produce. Visit a farmers’ market, check out the new vegetables and herbs and stretch your purchase by using the produce wisely. Use fresh ingredients in multiple meals and drinks, and store produce so that it lasts as long as possible. Leafy herbs, for example, do best trimmed and stored in a jar filled with an inch or so of water.
3. Keep cool with homemade popsicles. You can make your own frozen treats at home using a lot of everyday groceries. Do something as simple as freezing a basket of berries. It gives you something to snack on and creates a fun alternative to ice cubes. The homemade treats can save on packaging waste, and you’ll be able to make them as healthy (or not!) as you want. Win-win!
4. Stay hydrated with a reusable water bottle. Keep cool in style with your own reusable water bottle and you’ll save countless plastic ones from heading to a landfill this year, not to mention you’ll be able to save money by refilling it everywhere you go instead of buying new ones each time.
5. Recycle and reuse in the outdoors. Whether you’re picnicking in your neighborhood park or hiking in a national park, it’s as important to recycle while out as it is to recycle at home. Seems simple enough, but if your outdoor destination doesn’t have recycling bins, be sure to pack up your waste and bring it back home so that it gets disposed of properly. Of course, you also can use fewer disposable items in the first place.
6. Choose natural repellents. Look into some natural repellants that will save you bottles and bottles of bug spray. Plants, like marigolds, that are natural repellents, or you could burn citronella candles or make your own repellant with essential oils. Some people also have found that a simple electric fan can be very effective at keeping pests like mosquitos away.
7. Take to the water like a natural. Be it the beach, the pool or the backyard, enjoying water usually requires a lot of special things with limited lifespans. Switch it up this summer by choosing green bathing suits and hang-drying towels. Meanwhile, kids can get creative and give some kitchen items a seasonal alternative use: Keeping cool in the yard can be as simple as a hose and a colander to help “make it rain,” and with water toys straight from the kitchen, you can ditch the cheap, never-last-more-than-a-season, plastic water toys going forward.
8. Play equipment-less outdoor games. When boredom strikes, don’t let the shopping bug (or kids’ begging and pleading) get to you. From tag to red rover, there are a plethora of outdoor games that don’t require any equipment.
9. Get crafty. Boredom can creep up during the summertime; combat it by crafting some awesome (and useful) things using items you were bound to toss anyway. Noticing an onslaught of empty glass pickle jars from all your BBQs? Turn them into garden lanterns or terrariums. (The bonus to reusing glass jars: Upcycling glass can be even better for the environment than recycling glass right now.)
10. Make your own souvenirs. Instead of buying rinky-dink, disposable souvenirs while on vacations, start a scrapbook, collect treasures from the places you visit (seashells, rocks, leaves) or keep a map for a memento that’s more meaningful and less likely to be trashed.