Essential Sustainability Tips For Summer
The temperature has risen to record levels here in the UK this summer and who knows what August will bring. Many of us will be doing whatever we can to keep cool yet enjoy ourselves through any heatwave that we get to experience.
But there is a tendency for a lot of summer activities (or actions that come as a result of higher temperatures) to lead to damage to the environment and an increased carbon footprint.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to be more considerate of your actions this summer and ensure that you enjoy the season without causing excessive harm to the planet…
Keep energy consumption down by turning off your fan
You have probably taken your fan out of the loft or storage by now, especially to get through the uncomfortably warm nights and, as necessary as they are in this country, fans can consume and waste a lot of energy.
The mistake that many people make is to leave the fan on even when they’re not in the room believing that it will keep the room cool. However, fans merely move air around which helps keep you cool by evaporating sweat so it serves no purpose when you’re not in the room. Therefore, you should make sure that you turn off your fans when you leave the room.
Keep your showers short to reduce water usage
Another consequence of the hot weather is that you may find yourself needing to take more than one shower a day. Although we would always advise trying to stick to just one, it is understandable that you may find yourself needing a second wash before bed after a busy day in the sun.
If that is the case, then it is very important that you keep your shower short (approximately five minutes) in order to limit your water usage.
The average shower takes 8 minutes so if you can trim off just two minutes, you could save 4 gallons of water every day.
Minimise single-use plastics with a reusable bottle
Staying hydrated is essential during the summer so having a bottle of water to hand at all times is a necessity.
In order to greatly reduce the chances of you needing to buy a plastic bottle of water whilst out and about, invest in a reusable bottle that you can refill every time you need to hydrate.
Use reef-friendly sunscreen to protect the ocean
It is advised that you wear sunscreen every day to protect yourself from harmful UV rays; even on a cloudy day, 80% of the sun’s UV radiation reaches the earth.
With that being said, the majority of people living in the UK only apply sunscreen during the summer months or when they go on holiday. Either way, it is important to ensure that your sunscreen of choice is reef-friendly. This means that it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals that are toxic to marine life.
Take advantage of the warm weather by walking instead of driving
When the sun is out there is no excuse to be driving everywhere, especially short journeys that can easily be walked or cycled. Not only is this better for your health and a great opportunity to take advantage of the beautiful weather, but it will help reduce your carbon footprint.
Dry your clothes outside to keep carbon emissions lower
Another benefit of this warm and dry weather is that you can start hanging your washed clothes outside on your balcony or in your garden to dry rather than using a dryer. If all households with a tumble dryer dried one load of washing outside each week, instead of by machine, they would save over a million tonnes of CO2 in a year.
This time of year is the perfect opportunity to bring that carbon footprint down and give your washing a more eco-friendly and cheaper drying process.
Keep your picnics and BBQs plastic-free
When summer arrives there is one guarantee, your calendar will be packed full of activities from holidays and festivals to picnics and BBQs. But if you are planning to host or attend such an event, then try to keep it waste and plastic-free.
For example, you should switch out the single-use plastic bags and cutlery for eco-friendly cotton totes and reusable bamboo cutlery.
Food waste can also be an issue at these types of social gatherings so it is important to be mindful of how much food you are buying so you don't have an excessive amount. If you do end up with leftovers then whatever can be frozen or refrigerated and eaten later should be and any unopened goods can be donated to food banks.