Summer is an excellent time for relaxation, travel, and recycling. While most of our readers are currently off-campus, recycling and sustainability can happen anywhere. You can have fun, relax, and make a positive impact on the environment. No matter what activities your summer vacation involves, you can easily introduce sustainability into them.
The summer can be a time of frequent travel, cozying up with a good book, or even crafting. If you’re not doing much traveling and have time to craft, there are many items you can upcycle (re-use materials instead of throwing away) for use later in the year. These items can be used around the house or given away as gifts to friends and family. Upcycling crafts range from remodeling old furniture to creating simple knickknacks. Below are some select upcycle crafts we decided to highlight.
Fig. 1. Crafting and art supplies that can be used to transform a pair of jeans into a dog toy.
Two-liter soda bottles can be upcycled into reusable decorative planters. These planters can then be used to grow herbs and other small plants year-long. You can find how to make these at Good Housekeeping.com. Jeans, like plastics, can last a very long-time; but if you have pair to get damaged during summer shenanigans, you can easily turn it into a dog toy, napkin, or other useful objects. You can also use old books and magazines to create a variety of crafts that are pleasing to the eye and the environment.
Websites like Pinterest, Instagram, and many others have even more craft projects focused on recycling.
If crafting is not your thing and you’d rather sit down with a book there are many novels about sustainability and healthy living. We have a longer sustainability reading list in the works but try reading some of these books to pass the time.
Fig. 2. Books about the environment and plant life that can be found at the Georgia College library.
Try out 365 Ways to Live Green by Diane Gow McDilda, Green Washed: Why We Can’t Buy Our Way to A Green Planet by Kendra Pierre-Louis, and Living Green: Communities That Sustain by Jennifer Fosket and Laura Mamo.
Make sure to visit your local library or the Georgia College library to check out books about the environment (all of the above books can be found at the GC library). By doing this, you can reduce your carbon footprint and cut down on paper waste.
While on the road, make sure to have a container or bag dedicated to plastic bottles, cans, or even office paper. Many cities across the US have recycling centers where you can quickly dispose of such goods, instead of just throwing them away. If flying to an exotic locale, check to see if your airline offers composting or recycling opportunities. Also check with any hotel you stay with to learn about their sustainability standards.
Camping is a popular summer activity that can also be made healthier for the environment. While camping, make sure that all your water is stored in reusable water bottles and to leave the area better than when you found it by properly disposing of all wastes. Campers should also make sure to only use EPA registered insect repellent that is safe for use around animals.
These are just some simple ways to make your summer vacation healthier for the environment. We hope you keep sustainability in mind during your vacation and have a nice summer!