1. We’re only halfway through summer, but the kids are already going stir crazy. Entertain them by turning some of your trash into activities:
- Use washed-out soup and vegetable cans and a string to create a telephone
- Create papier-mâché metal coffee cans to hold markers and colored pencils (online tutorial here)
- Create a bird feeder out of a rinsed-out milk jug or plastic coffee can
- Use the bottom of a two-liter soda bottle as a paint stamp that looks like a flower, or paint ten empty two-liter bottles as bowling pins, with rolled-up old aluminum foil as the ball (DIY Despicable Me Minions-themed bowling set)
- Create a mosaic or posters out of old magazines and newspapers
The opportunities are practically endless for reusing household materials. Give the kids a start and watch how many recycled crafts they come up with!
2. Planning to go to the beach this summer?
Everyone enjoys a sunny day at the beach. Make sure you stay hydrated, especially if you plan to tan or swim! Instead of buying many small drink bottles, buy drinks or drink mixes in bulk and fill reusable bottles. It’s not only better for the environment, but more cost-effective in the long run. When visiting the beaches, be sure to follow the “No Footprint” rule: take out everything you bring in, to protect the ocean and its natural inhabitants.
3. BBQ season is approaching and you’ve got parties to host!
Summer is a popular time for pool parties, barbeques and other outdoor festivities. At your next party, set the table with reusable napkins and dinnerware; you can reuse cardboard six-pack holders for condiments and party gifts. Make recycling convenient for your guests by putting a clearly-labeled recycling bin by the trash can. It’s helpful to make an announcement about recycling when your guests arrive.
4. Taking a road trip with the entire family?
One of the worst parts of road trips is the accumulation of trash. You can combat this by:
- Keeping a plastic trash bag in the passenger seat to collect garbage and keep the car clean
- Packing your own snacks, such as nuts, dried fruit, trail mix and chips in reusable baggies instead of buying individual servings
- Reusing plastic shopping bags to keep liquid toiletries, dirty shoes or wet bathing suits contained
- Packing activities and games in recyclable grocery store bags – easy access and easy to clean!
5. Grow your own food from organic leftovers
If you’re sick of the grocery store, this is the one for you. You can re-plant several types of produce indoors. Some of the best-performing common vegetables are celery, sweet peppers and hot peppers, garlic greens, scallions, chives, microgreens, leafy greens and herbs such as basil and cilantro. In the Northeast, you can also re-plant berries, peaches, oranges and apples. Even if they don’t bear fruit in the season, they are aesthetic and make great windowsill plants as saplings.
6. Exercising is not only great for your body, but can help the environment, too.
Though programs like the HOV lane have been established to combat traffic and CO2 emissions, it’s tough to find friends willing to carpool. This summer, make the most of the beautiful weather to walk or bike around town and encourage your friends and family members to do the same.
7. Get social with it!
- Like to read? Instead of buying new books, create a Book Exchange with friends and neighbors, or visit your local library.
- Many towns on Long Island have developed community gardens where you can either volunteer or purchase a plot to grow your own fruits, vegetables and flowers.
- Clean out your closet and join the neighborhood yard sale or community tag sale this summer – you’ll recycle your used clothing and shoes, books, games, movies, sports goods and flatware and make a few bucks to boot!