Sustainability Tips for an Eco-Friendly Summer

BIDMC Contributor

AUGUST 13, 2020

Dad and Son Preparing Farm Fresh ProduceSpending time outdoors is a great way to take advantage of the warmer weather — while keeping your distance, wearing a mask and washing your hands.

"With just a few tweaks to your normal summer routine, you can make your summer more sustainable while still enjoying your favorite activities," says Avery Palardy, BIDMC's Sustainability Program Manager.

Grilling Guide

  • Choose your grill: Natural gas, propane and electric grills burn more efficiently and cleaner than charcoal and wood grills. They also leave behind less waste. "If you prefer to use charcoal for its taste, try out an organic charcoal that has less chemical additives," Palardy says.
  • Clean your grill before it cools down: A cleaner grill gives off less smoke and generates less pollution.
  • Select low impact foods: Beef has the largest environmental impact, so consider alternatives for your grill such as turkey burgers, chicken, veggie burgers, grilled vegetables, tofu, tempeh, portobello mushrooms, and meat substitute burgers such as beyond meat.
  • Buy local: "When possible, buy local and seasonal vegetables, meat and beverages from farmers markets and other vendors in the community," Palardy says. View a map of farmers markets across Massachusetts.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

  • Avoid individual cans or bottles: Cut down on the amount of waste at backyard barbecues by making homemade lemonade, sparkling soda or other delicious beverages instead of having individual cans or bottles.
  • Invest in a reusable water bottle: Reusable water bottles are a great option for staying hydrated on the go. "Many water bottles can keep beverages cold for hours, ensuring you always have a refreshing drink on hand whether you're in the backyard or at the beach," Palardy says.
  • Use reusable dishes and utensils: When having guests over, label your cups to reduce the number used, bring out the washable dishes and utensils or save up plastic utensils from takeout orders, and provide cloth napkins or purchase 100% recycled paper napkins.
  • Use reusable containers for leftovers: Most barbecues have an abundance of leftover food, so encourage your guests to bring it home with them to cut down on food waste. "When packing up a lunch for a day at the beach or park, opt for reusable containers or reusable food storage bags rather than single-use plastic bags," Palardy says.
  • Make recycling easy for you and your guests: Clearly label bags or bins for recycling with what items should go into the bins.

Other Eco-Friendly Tips

  • Swap your sunscreen: Many sunscreens contain ingredients that are harmful to fish and other wildlife. "Look for sunscreen options that will help keep you safe from the sun's rays while helping to keep the environment safe," says Palardy.
  • Air dry: Take advantage of warm summer breezes and try air drying your clothes on a clothing line. It'll help save energy and help avoid firing up the dryer on hot days.
  • Keep the shades down: Help keep the temperature down in your house by lowering window shades to block out the sun's strong rays during the day. In the evening, open up the windows to bring in cooler nighttime air.

"Environmental health is everyone's responsibility," says Palardy. "These simple tips will make your summer as safe as it is fun."

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.
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