Published: June 16, 2021 By

food on a picnic blanketSummer might be a great time to relax, but that doesn't mean you should relax your standards of sustainability. Here are some zero waste activities and tips to keep in mind.

In Boulder

  • Visit the farmers market on Wednesdays from 4-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. to support local farmers and businesses and pick up fresh fruits, vegetables and more.
  • Farmers markets are the perfect place to ditch your plastic grocery bags and try fresh and in-season fruits and vegetables.
  • Use Bcycle to get around town, instead of a car.
  • If you can't get to the farmers market every week, consider the Longmont Simply Bulk Market to buy everything you'll need for your picnics, barbeques, camping trips and more.

Other zero waste summer tips

  • Check out Pinterest for zero waste recipe ideas and trends.
  • Summer is a great time to set up backyard composting. Check out this article by a fellow member of the zero waste team.
  • Have your own zero waste picnic! Opt for reusable tupperware and silverware over single-use plastics.
  • Plan a staycation. Instead of flying or driving, consider finding new attractions to visit around your town. 
  • Plan ahead with reusables and utensils for all the pit-stops you may make. 
  • Bring your own food to reduce packaging waste from food you might purchase from a gas station or store. 
  • Mason jars are a summer staple! Bring some along to gather bulk food, make fresh squeezed lemonade or store food.

Zero waste activities

  • Zero waste barbeques/grilling:
  • Encourage your guests to bring reusable containers with resealable lids to your cookout.
  • Bring your own utensils or cups.
  • Set up a compost area and recycling bin so friends and family can properly dispose of their waste.
  • Plan food and appetizers around what items you already have in your kitchen; get creative with recipes!
  • Zero waste day at the beach/reservoir/lake or tubing at the creek:
  • Bring your own snacks in reusable containers, and reusable utensils.
  • Clean up after yourself, and you can even pick up trash in the surrounding area.
  • Pack a cooler.
  • Take nothing, leave nothing.
  • Use a reef-safe sunscreen. Some reef-safe sunscreen brands include: 
  • Thinksport
  • Kokua Sun Care
  • All Good
  • Suntegrity
  • Raw Elements
  • Babo Botanicals
  • Art of Sport
  • And many more!
  • Zero waste festivals/fairs:
  • Bring a mason jar or reusable water bottle to refill.
  • Bring a bandana to use as a reusable napkin.
  • Bring foldable, resuable utensils.

Zero waste camping: pack your trash!

  • Leave no trace! 
  • Set up your own zero waste system on the campsite with recycling and composting.
  • Bring reusables, including a camping kitchen kit. Investing in a portable grill is a sustainable way to have great meals while camping.
  • Prepare a few bulk snacks that you can eat throughout the entire trip - energy balls or jerkies are a great option! 
  • Opt for reusable propane canisters.
  • Non-reusable propane canisters can be recycled at Boulder Household hazardous waste.
  • Use any plastic bags that you must bring as pet waste bags on the trip.
  • Consider borrowing or renting camping gear rather than buying new.
  • If your camping gear is damaged or broken, try to repair it rather than throwing it away. Many local outdoor shops offer repair services.

Prep for move-in/move-out

  • Keep these sustainable tips in mind:
  • Wrap anything fragile in t-shirts or soft fabric instead of plastic wrap.
  • Use biodegradable packing materials as much as possible.
  • If you're moving to a new place or a new state, make sure to look up the recycling guidelines, which can vary by location.
  • Limit your electronic waste.
  • Look for Energy Star labeled products that use less energy.
  • Choose LED bulbs over other varieties for lighting.
  • Check out these articles for more specific information for move out off-campus and on-campus.