If you’ve adopted a more sustainable and low-waste lifestyle, you’ll know that even small changes in routine can easily derail your best efforts! While you’re at home beeswax wraps, metal straws, and plastic-free shopping feels easy, but summer holidays come with their own challenges. With some hassle-free swaps and a little bit of planning, here’s how you can reduce waste and the environmental impact of your summer holiday:
Say sayonara to single-use
Nothing quite says Kiwi summer like an iconic ‘longest drink in town’ milkshake from your local beach-side dairy. Unfortunately, these seemingly innocent paper cups are bonded with a plastic coating to make them waterproof and ultimately destined for landfill. Add a plastic lid and straw and your beachside treat could go on to live for centuries in landfill. Similarly, takeaway coffee cups and a bottle of water on-the-go are common Kiwi road-trip purchases with similar destinies.
Plan ahead by bringing reusable items with you. Things like cutlery, metal straws, KeepCups and refillable water bottles don’t take up much space and will help make beachy treats guilt-free.
Have a staycation
Keeping your holiday local cuts out one major fossil-fuel guzzler – air travel. But that’s not the only benefit. By limiting holiday travel to domestic only, you’ll be supporting local businesses and the economy. For the ultimate green holiday, why not try a staycation? We often spend our home-life rushing between work, family and other commitments. Taking the opportunity to holiday in your home and the surrounding neighbourhood can be relaxing and rewarding.
Create an itinerary of all the local spots you’ve been meaning to visit, order in dinner, hire a cleaner, and take a break from the chores. Best of all, with a staycation you’ll avoid the usual holiday stresses of packing, traffic and overrun holiday spots. If you’d like a change of scene, you could even consider swapping houses with someone nearby - instant (and free) holiday feeling, while you explore your almost empty city.
Shop the sales with purpose
The temptation of post-Christmas and New Year sales can be irresistible but try to avoid shopping for the sake of shopping. If you’ve been hanging out for the sales to make a big purchase or two, go with a list and avoid browsing. It’s easy to get caught up in the hysteria of sale season, and the big discounts can really draw you in. If you’re someone who finds it difficult to say ‘no’ to deals, send someone else along to do the shopping for you, or try shopping online. But, be sure to choose pickup or non-urgent delivery - the best choice for the environment.
The best option of all is to avoid buying anything at all – or to find a second-hand alternative.
Stock up on seasonal goodies
With an abundance of juicy strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes and stone fruits hitting the shops, it’s a great idea to take advantage of these and stock up. All summer fruits can easily be frozen on a baking sheet to enjoy over winter. Frozen berries are great in smoothies, as an addition to winter oats or baked into a pie, and frozen tomatoes add bursts of flavour to soups and sauces.
Don’t throw out those bruised strawberries – they make great jam and smoothies – just freeze them as you find them until you have enough.
New year, same planet
You can still welcome the New Year with themed decor, confetti and glasses of bubbles by making a few easy planet-friendly swaps.
By simply buying better quality decor (that doesn’t have the year printed on it), its lifespan is immediately extended. Hunt down biodegradable eco-confetti, which is usually made from coloured rice paper or corn-starch, rather than polluting plastic. Instead of drinking from plastic flutes, trawl the op-shops for an eclectic mix, or encourage guests to bring their own – that way everyone will have an easier time of identifying their glass!
Harness the sun
While you’re soaking up the sunshine, consider letting solar panels do the same by adding them to your home. Installing a solar energy system in the lead-up to summer will have you saving on your power bill and doing your part towards a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future – it’s a win-win!
If installing solar sounds like a big undertaking, check out our solarZero service which makes it easy. With zero upfront costs and no maintenance fees you get solar panels and a battery installed at your home, all you pay for is the solar energy you consume for a fixed monthly fee.
Take your EV on the road
A big contributor to emissions is, of course, the car - and we use them a lot over the summer! Switching to an EV (especially if it’s charged by your solar panels) pretty much eliminates the emissions from your holiday tripping. Many modern EVs have fantastic ranges that will easily get you to your bach, and if you’re heading off further afield you’ll find plenty of fast-charging stations along the way.
This article was created in collaboration with GrownUps.