How to be Environmentally Friendly This Summer

We get it, we get it. Being a full time student and an environmentally friendly citizen can be time consuming and difficult. You don’t always think about recycling or how much waste you’re producing when you’re running late to class or work. Fear not. Here are some tips and tricks that you can implement into your lifestyle this summer that not only will help keep our planet green but will help you save some money, too.

  1. Participate in the Keep Tahoe Red, White & Blue beach cleanup after Independence Day on July 5th. Lake Tahoe gets heavy visitation during summer holidays. Despite the beach being the perfect place to enjoy the season with friends, many visitors don’t pick up after themselves. Last summer volunteers removed 1,676 pounds of trash from Tahoe beaches the day after the Fourth of July, according to The League to Save Lake Tahoe. Plastic and cigarette butts not only look disgusting when left everywhere, but it has damaging effects on local wildlife and lake clarity. The League to Save Lake Tahoe provides reusable cleanup bags, gloves and hand sanitizer, refreshments, giveaways, and free raffle prizes for those who volunteer to clean up. Cleanup sites include Commons Beach, Kings Beach, Kiva Beach, Nevada Beach, and Regan Beach. If you’re unable to attend, you can also make a donation on their website.
  2. Save Water during day-to-day use. According to the City of Reno’s Sustainability Department, if you shorten your shower by just a minute that can be the equivalent of saving 150 gallons of water per month. This not only saves water, but it’ll save you some extra money on your water bill, too. Try to break your habit of turning off the water while you brush your teeth. An average of four gallons is used every minute that your sink is running.
  3. Save Energy by using power strips instead of outlets, and turn off the power strips when you’re not using them to conserve energy. Instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle, let your dishes air-dry. This can cut energy by up to 50%. Another great tip is to use wool or rubber dryer balls to separate your clothes. This allows more air to get to your clothes while drying which also saves you energy and money.
  4. Recycle Properly by knowing what you should and shouldn’t throw away. I know I’ve made this mistake myself. I think just because something is paper or plastic it can be easily recycled. Boy was I wrong. Many items of trash I thought would be great for recycling like cardboard pizza boxes, juice boxes, and milk cartons are actually quite difficult to recycle due to grease contamination, being hard to separate, and being a certain type of plastic. I also realized that recycling shredded paper versus non shredded paper makes a difference as well. The more paper is shredded, the more it reduces the grade of the paper, and thus its quality and value. Not even all recyclers take mixed grade paper such as the paper you find in magazines or telephone books. In this case, composting paper after it’s been reduced to confetti size may be a better option if you don’t want to waste it. For a full list of what you can and can’t recycle check out Waste Management’s list of metals, paper, glass, plastics, and more that won’t be wasted if you try to recycle it.