Boost your summer adventures with these tips and tricks

6 tips for a summer with a lower footprint

Image of family on beach

Summer is a great time to travel, enjoy the outdoors and soak up the sun. However, as you leave your footprints behind at the beach, you should also consider what footprint your summer activities leave behind. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you enjoy your summer:

1. Recycle your summer drink containers

In the summer months, shoppers purchase 36% more soft drinks than at any other time of year, to quench their thirst in the higher temperatures. After spending a day at the beach, having a picnic in the park, or hosting a barbecue at home, you may end up with some empty drink containers. Instead of throwing them away, return your bottles and cans to a reverse vending machine (RVM) or bottle depot for recycling.

It is important to collect these containers for recycling, helping turn waste into a resource. As well as being able to produce new containers, it reduces the number of bottles and cans that end up in landfills or polluting the environment as litter.

Christina Ek from TOMRA Collection
Christina Ek, Project Manager Sustainability TOMRA Collection
Dog returning drink containers to TOMRA R1

2. Reduce energy consumption

Save energy and reduce your carbon footprint by minimizing your use of appliances this season. Many people are looking to cool their homes during the warmer summer months; reduce your air conditioning by closing windows and blinds during the day, and opening doors and windows during the night. While you're at it, use summer as an opportunity to cut your tumble-dryer usage; during the warmer months, hang clothes in the sun to dry instead.

In summer, like at all times of year, use energy-efficient appliances and turn off electronics when they are not in use. It is estimated that between 9% and 16% of electricity consumed in homes is used by electronic appliances in standby mode.

3. Cut down summer water usage

Conserving water is important, especially if you live in a region where summer can mean less rainfall. Take shorter showers, use a lower water temperature (no need for a hot shower in summer anyway!), fix leaky faucets, and consider using a low-flow showerhead to reduce water consumption.

Shortening your shower by just a minute or two can save up to 150 gallons of water per month. This not only conserves water but also reduces the usage of energy required to heat water. 

4. Choose low-emission transportation

Another way to reduce your carbon footprint this summer is by using transportation with lower carbon emissions: biking and walking are easier in the warmer summer months, but also look at options like public transport, and carpooling instead of driving alone. 

By taking the bus, you can halve your emissions, and, by biking, you reduce them by two thirds. These transportation alternatives can also get you exercising and save you money on fuel. 

Man on bicycle
Man on train

5. Take 3 for the sea

Summer sees more people out enjoying beaches, parks and waterways – and more crowds can sometimes lead to more litter. In Australia, TOMRA Collection has worked with non-profit organization Take 3 for the Sea, which has a simple message for combatting litter.

“When you finish your day outdoors, take three pieces of rubbish with you, and make sure it ends up in the right place,” explains Christina Ek from TOMRA Collection. “If everyone participates, small actions can make a big impact in keeping outdoor spaces cleaner and more enjoyable to use, and ensuring litter doesn’t end up in the oceans where it can have a detrimental impact on marine life.” 

Family picking up bottle litter on beach

6. Tweak your summer travel plans

Plan your summer travels with your footprint in mind. Consider travelling by train or bus rather than planes where possible. Choose accommodations that practice recycling, energy-efficiency, and water conservation, or have certifications like LEED or Green Globe. When indulging in local cuisine, try some vegetarian or vegan meals once in a while to reduce your carbon footprint.

Or, consider a "staycation”, to explore local attractions and activities, instead of traveling out of town this summer. Staying home also reduces the carbon emissions involved in travelling to a new destination.

By making small changes to your summer routine, you can help to reduce waste and litter, and cut your carbon footprint.