Have you thought about how you might have a more sustainable summer? If enough of us make small changes to our lifestyles and purchasing habits, we can make a big difference!
We’ve put together a list of small, easy ways you can do your bit. This includes ideas for conscious living and more ethical buying. Which ones would be easy for you?
1. Heat-proof your house
Climate change is making our summers hotter. It might be tempting to get yourself an air conditioning unit. But these high energy-consumers are only making the problem worse.
Try to avoid your house heating up in the first place. Keep curtains closed during the day, draught-proof to keep hot air out and seal off rooms you don’t need. Of course, many of us will need to use a fan to stay cool – but switch it off when it’s not needed. And why not swap it out for a hand-held fan when you can?
2. Save water
Hot summers mean less rain for our plants and reservoirs. There's often a hosepipe ban during heat waves to save precious water. But there's even more you can do! Conserve water by taking shorter showers and turning off taps when you’re brushing your teeth.
Think about how you can reuse water in your home, too. For example, you can use leftover water from boiling pasta, rice and veggies to water your plants! (Just make sure you let it cool down first). You could even install a water butt in your garden to collect rainwater for watering your plants. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – a bucket or tub you already have will do.
3. Help out wildlife
It’s not just us humans who struggle in the heat – your local wildlife does too! Leave out a bowl of water for birds, foxes and other critters to stay hydrated. There might also be a lack of food around for them in the dryer weather. Leaving out some tasty cat or dog food helps make sure they don’t go hungry.
Why not also leave an area of your garden or balcony to go a bit wild? This can create a haven for wildlife with shade from the sun. Planting wildflowers is also a great way to support your local bee population.
4. Choose eco-friendly sunscreen
Sun cream is a summer essential. But unfortunately, it can contain chemicals that aren’t great for the environment. And it usually comes in plastic packaging that ends up in landfill. So why not pick an eco-friendly version instead? We recommend Green People’s SPF30 Scent-Free Sun Cream. It's ocean-friendly, vegan & organic and has plant-based packaging.
5. Wear sustainable sunnies
Stylish sunglasses are the ultimate accessory for any summer outfit. And of course, they keep your eyes protected from pesky UV rays. But as with any item you buy, you can make a positive impact by shopping better.
Refurbished, plastic-free or recycled sunglasses usually have a lower carbon footprint than brand-new shades.
6. Invest in reusable items
Picnics, barbecues & holidays: what summer’s all about. We love all these activities, but when you’re out and about it’s easy to end up purchasing single-use items.
Get ahead of the game by purchasing some reusable products (or even better, digging out ones you already own!). Make sure they’re always in your bag before you leave the house, and you won’t get caught out.
Here are a few of our favourite reusable items:
7. Opt for sustainable swimwear
Another item of clothing we often buy at this time of year is swimsuits. People are more reluctant to buy second-hand swimsuits though (hey, we get it!). The good news is there are some great sustainable swimwear brands out there! They make swimsuits out of clever materials like recycled ocean plastic!
8. Travel by train
Train travel emits on average six times fewer greenhouse gas emissions than flying. If you’re travelling to Europe, why not try the Eurostar?
Of course, taking the train is much slower. Not everyone has the luxury of extra time to spend travelling. But if you do, the train is worth considering.
Or could you reframe how you think about train travel? By embracing the journey and choosing scenic routes, it could become a fun and rewarding part of the trip.
9. Choose eco-friendly accommodation
When you arrive at your destination, where you choose to stay has an impact too. When booking accommodation, try to find out:
· Whether they use green energy · What carbon reduction methods they’ve taken · How they reduce and manage waste · Whether they use ethical suppliers
We love Fairbnb, the community-powered travel accommodation network! It has places to stay across Europe and part of what you pay funds local community projects.
10. Stay in the UK
One easy way to reduce your travel footprint is to stay local! Holidaying in the UK can be a way to cut your travel emissions. And there are so many beautiful places to discover right on our doorstep! From the beautiful beaches of the south coast to the stunning scenery in Scotland, there’s something for everyone.
Find the hottest sustainable products with the Beagle Button
Want to find ethical options this summer? Don’t sweat it! Just download the Beagle Button browser extension to see sustainable alternatives as you shop online.