Be more sustainable this Summer!

Summertime is almost here which means families and friends will be enjoying the warm weather and long summer days. Most of us will be busy packing picnics, barbeques, camping trips, and those lazy lake days. When planning summer outings, we tend to reach for those convenient single-use plastic items like disposable plastic silverware, cups, straws, and plastic water bottles that get used only once. These items are tossed in the trash and can live in our landfills for eternity. So it’s time to break up with single-use plastics and follow the 5 Rs when planning your next outdoor summer event! Single-use plastics have made it easy for us to enjoy and plan these occasions but, is it worth the cost of what single-use plastics are doing to our environment? Scientists predict that by the year 2050, plastic waste will outnumber fish in our oceans. Plastic doesn’t decompose but instead breaks up into tiny pieces that are getting into our waterways and stuck in our ecosystems.

How the 5 Rs came to be

The 5 Rs were started by Bea Johnson who lives in a “Zero Waste Household.” They are Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot. Start by refusing single-use items like straws, disposable silverware, cups, and plates, food items wrapped in plastic and those dreaded single-use plastic water bottles. Instead, set up a pitcher of iced water with lemon and compostable or reusable cups next to it for your guests to enjoy. To add an extra touch of creativity, buy paper straws that can add a little pop of color.
Next, reduce the amount of waste you are producing. Try making your natural cleaning products by using white vinegar and baking soda to clean up after the party instead of buying cleaning supplies that come in plastic bottles. Next, reuse your items rather than purchasing disposable items that are meant for a one time use. Use metal silverware at your picnics instead of those pesky single-use plastic silverware. Head to a thrift store and buy a bunch that you only have to pay once! After you have refused, reduced and reused you recycle what is left which should be hardly anything. Be sure to recycle right and check out KTMB’s recycling guide if you are unsure of how to recycle certain items. Lastly, we rot or compost food that will be turned into nutrient-rich soil. Collect all the veggie and fruit scraps from your barbeque, place it into a bin and let nature do all the work! So the next time you pack up all your supplies and head to the lake think about how you can incorporate the 5 Rs into your planning.