Updated: Sep 29, 2022
Reducing the waste we create is a straightforward way to help the environment as it’s something we can control and it helps reduce your carbon footprint. If less is being used and thrown away, less energy is needed to deal with it in landfill or recycling.
But reducing waste can feel harder during the summer months when routines fly out of the window, the family is home more, and you’re out and about regularly.
Families in particular can create lots of plastic waste, as so much of what we buy involves single-use plastic and extra packaging.
Here are some tips for reducing waste over the summer.
Reducing Waste and Saving Money Out and About
Summer is a time when we tend to get out and about more for day trips, holidays, and picnics in the park with friends.
A really easy way to reduce your waste over summer, is to make the most of reusable containers.
Getting into the habit of taking a reusable drinks bottle with you whenever you leave the house not only saves an average of 175 bottles per person a year of single-use plastic, but also saves money, plus you’re in control of what you drink.
Ditching plastic straws is another easy way to reduce single-use plastic, much of which doesn’t get recycled when you use it away from home. If you still want to use a straw, there are lots of reusable straws available on the market now in different materials. Some even come with a handy carry container to keep them clean in your bag, so you never have to do without.
Packing snacks and meals at home to take with you has the added benefit of saving money as well as giving you the confidence they’re fresh. There are lots of options available to store your food on the go without using plastic bags which saves you from buying pre-packaged sandwiches and snacks. For added sustainability, you could use bamboo or metal food containers and plates which are totally plastic-free.
Cloth napkins can be washed and used again and again and can give a nicer feel than disposable paper use. Of course, ensuring you use a reusable bag whilst shopping or for generally carrying things is a super easy way to reduce plastic too!
Reducing Food Waste
Food waste seems to increase over the summer due to the family being home more. This potential loss of routine often costs you money unnecessarily, as well as being bad for the environment. Keep on top of what you need and reduce food with a little planning.
Try to plan your meals at least once a week so you only buy what you need and aren’t tempted by the extra offers in the supermarket. Apps such as Olio and Kitche can help you share and make use of anything you don’t need or come up with exciting ideas for leftovers.
If possible, shop at farmers' markets or local greengrocers, butchers, fishmongers or zero waste shops where you’re in control of how much you buy. Wasteless Market who joined us at Bexley Eco Festival, is a great place to visit. Alternatively, you could buy from a company that uses ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables that don’t make the grade for the main shops.
Reducing Waste and Recycling Around the Home
There are lots of ways to save on waste around the home, Look online for ideas on upcycling and ways to reuse things you’d otherwise be throwing out.
Maybe your family likes getting creative, so you could recycle things you would otherwise throw out. Transform plastic containers into gardening pots or science experiments, for example.
If your kids like to craft, instead of buying everything from the shop, go on a nature hunt and craft what you find, such as pressing flowers or making a bug house.
If you do need to buy things, try to find pre-used items. Not only are you saving them from going into landfill, but you’ll save money. Upcycling clothes like we did at Bexley Eco Festival can be another way to create something unique without breaking the bank or buying new.
Wash out useful-sized containers for food and other items you buy and reuse them around the home. You can use everything from jars to toilet rolls for storing and keeping fresh all sorts of things from food and toys to bits and bobs and get the family involved too!
We hope this post inspired you with ideas to help reduce your waste over the summer. Let us know if you have any more we can share!