Here in Michigan, summer means boating on the great lakes, having backyard BBQs with friends, soaking up the sun in a beach chair, or enjoying a picnic at a breathtaking state park. It’s the most anticipated season that all Michiganders look forward to after a long and dark midwest winter. However, these super fun summer activities can take a toll on the planet by adding unnecessary pollution and waste to the ecosystem. With large crowds heading to our beaches, lakes, and parks this time of year, it is a great time to learn how to have a sustainable summer. Below, we will provide BARC’s top eco-friendly tips and swaps so you can make your summer more sustainable!

10 Eco-Friendly Tips to Make Your Summer More Sustainable

Enjoy a Sustainable Picnic in the Park

Getting together with loved ones for a picnic in the park or a backyard BBQ is a huge part of enjoying summer vacation. However, having a get-together can often result in tons of waste. Here are some of our top recommendations if you are arranging an event this season. Start by serving food from your local bakery or farmer’s market to avoid items with unnecessary heavy plastic packaging. For decoration, we suggest getting crafty with things already in nature, like fruit or flowers. Finally, we recommend using real dishes or compostable service ware for a sizable guest list. It might be intimidating, but with these eco-friendly tips, you can get together to enjoy the great outdoors while protecting your environment!

Eliminate Single-Use Plastic

Eliminating single-use plastic from your summer routine is an easy way to live sustainably. Every minute, approximately 1.2 million plastic water bottles are used worldwide. By switching to a reusable water bottle this summer, you can divert an average of 156 plastic water bottles from landfills annually. If you are in a pickle and need to purchase water at the store, we recommend opting for boxed water or water in an aluminum can. During your most adventurous summer activities, we suggest getting a hydration pack. In addition, using single-use plastic cutlery also dramatically impacts the environment. We recommend swapping them out with reusable or compostable serviceware for your next picnic. BARC has a full line of compostable serviceware available for purchase. If you are up for a challenge, you can even commit to a Plastic-Free July!

Support and Shop Local

There are many different reasons you should shop local – from boosting the local economy and finding natively produced goods to supporting the fight against climate change. By shopping locally, you will help decrease transportation pollution, create less waste, and minimize packaging. We recommend heading to your local farmers market this summer to pick up food for dinner or an event. Another great way to make your summer more sustainable is to shop secondhand. You will be surprised at how many summer clothes, toys, and gear you can find from brands you love at a thrift store. Check out the Kaleva Resale Shop if you want to find some new-to-you items this season!

Elevate Your Commute

Cars and other motorized vehicles are America’s biggest air quality problems, producing about one-third of all U.S. air pollution. With this negative environmental impact and the fact that gas prices are at an all-time high, it’s a great time to think about switching up your commute to work, school, and to run errands. We recommend carpooling, bike riding, or walking this summer if you have the option. This is an excellent strategy for reducing gas costs and lowering the number of harmful toxins polluting our air. Plus, this gives you time to chat with your friends before a long day in the office or enjoy a summer breeze while sipping your morning coffee. It is a win-win!

Go Meatless

Although every piece of food we eat has an impact on our environment, some foods make a huge impact compared to others. For example, meat production takes a significant toll on our planet. Breeding, raising, and harvesting billions of animals for food requires tons of natural resources while producing tons of waste simultaneously. By going meatless, you can help the planet this summer. If you can’t remove meat from your diet, we recommend trying Meatless Mondays! This way, you can still reduce your environmental impact without drastically affecting your current diet and routine.

Start Composting

Composting is a great way to divert precious organic materials from landfills while creating nutrient-rich soil that will bring your garden to life. If you are lucky enough to have a backyard, starting a compost pile is a great way to live more sustainably this summer. If you want to learn more about how to start a compost pile, what is compostable, and what isn’t, read our expert composting guide!

Take Advantage Of Natural Light

Summer means longer days, more sunlight, and an opportunity to save on your electricity bill! We recommend taking advantage of the natural light in your windows this season so you don’t have to turn on any unnecessary fluorescents. If your home doesn’t have the best natural light, we recommend eating a meal in the backyard, reading a book near the pool, or setting up your laptop on the porch. No matter what your daily routine looks like, swapping artificial light for the real thing is a great way to live a more sustainable lifestyle!

Use Eco-Friendly Sunscreen

Finding an eco-friendly sunscreen is one of the easiest swaps that will instantly make your summer more sustainable. Unfortunately, tons of sunscreens on the market damage the ecosystems in salt and freshwater. So do your research to find reef-safe and lake-friendly sunscreen to protect you from the summer sun!

Get an Ice Cream Cone

Here at BARC, we all scream for ice cream! Beat the heat this summer by grabbing a decadent waffle cone at your local ice cream shop. Choosing a cone over a paper cup is a sustainable, zero-waste, and delicious choice. In addition, choosing a cone adds a new dimension to your ice cream eating experience by adding a mouth-watering crunch. Next time you’re craving something sweet, remember that ice cream in a cone is the perfect summer treat!

Recycle with BARC

If you are running behind on your spring cleaning and looking to get rid of items without contributing to landfills, recycle with BARC! We offer our recycling services on tons of items at an affordable price that you can feel good about. To learn more about our recycling process and services, check out our pricing.