Summer can be fickle, but sustainability shouldn’t have to be. Read on as we explore why eco-friendly habits can plummet as temperatures soar, plus a few easy ways to have a more sustainable summer.
The school holidays have begun and British summertime is in full swing, but as we embrace these much-anticipated summer months, sustainable habits can be abandoned. So why is this, and what small steps can we make to change this?
Are people less sustainable in summer?
During warmer weather, there can be a few reasons people choose less environmentally-friendly options. Summer events and excursions, such as music festivals, staycations and holidays abroad, can lead to a more relaxed mindset and throwaway behaviours. Often, the reason is simple: convenience.
Problem #1 – More single-use waste
Outdoor activities can generate a lot of plastic waste. As the sunshine makes its long-awaited return, we rightly must keep well hydrated. It’s also vital to stay protected from UV radiation. But sometimes, purchasing items such as cold, bottled water and sunscreen may mean relying on disposable plastics. This can equally be the case for food packaging. There’s something special about having a spontaneous picnic or eating al-fresco, but it’s always disheartening to see littered beaches, green spaces and festival fields.
The solution – Planning ahead
Packing in advance can help to avoid any additional waste produced during summer activities. A reusable water bottle is a must-have for anyone working towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle. While it can be tempting to grab a cold drink from a supermarket fridge, consider adding ice to your own drinking bottle to keep cool and refreshed throughout the day.
For meal times, why not prepare a picnic in eco-friendly food storage? It can be especially rewarding to share homemade food, from homegrown salads and strawberries to freshly baked bread and sweet treats. There are many options to keep your food fresh and reduce disposable packaging on-the-go, such as wax wraps, reusable food containers and reusable cutlery.
With these simple swaps, there will be minimal to zero waste, encouraging you to take everything with you and leave no trace. Finally, go greener with sunscreen that is plastic-
free and reef-friendly – made with no harmful chemicals to protect marine life.
Problem #2 – Increased emissions
Making the most of the warmer weather, the population explores both the picturesque places in the UK, and also ventures further afield for holidays abroad. Summer 2023 is set to see surges in foreign travel, with research showing that two-thirds of people plan to go abroad this year. In fact, Expedia has seen a 25% increase in searches for international flights between June and August compared to 2022. And while everyone deserves their place in the sun, increased travel – particularly by plane – can cause a high carbon footprint.
The solution – Travelling mindfully
So it’s important to limit the trips we take and always consider the most eco-friendly form of travel, such as public transport. For the most part, this will be the most cost-effective option too. Consider staying closer to home, discovering beautiful scenery on your doorstep and opting for staycations where possible. Better still, spend time researching eco retreats which match comfort and green living seamlessly. Explore the many benefits of holidaying at home here.
At music festivals, products such as biodegradable glitter can help you to get into the summer spirit sustainability, free from any polluting micro plastics. Meanwhile, disposable wipes can be replaced with reusable cloths, and choosing powdered dry shampoo over aerosol formulas means avoiding greasy hair days whilst also avoiding depleting the ozone layer.
The world is a beautiful place, so if you simply can’t resist venturing to new shores, pack sustainably with eco-friendly toiletries which are much kinder to Mother Nature. For weekends away, invest in sustainable travel products such as all-in-one hair and body cubes and toothpaste tablets. These are even more space-saving than the travel-sized plastic miniatures available in supermarkets, and ensure you only carry what you need – avoiding a temporary, impulse purchase for a one-time event.
Though nobody is perfect, a little planning in advance can help to better respect the environment, while equally enjoying it over the summer months. Becoming a more conscious consumer, and being that little bit more mindful, means summer fun doesn’t have to come at the expense of sustainability. For more tips, truths and our favourite eco-friendly products for the season of sunshine, check out last year’s blog here.
Written by Hannah Stark