There is something to be said about warm weather and longer days. It makes us want to switch up our winter and COVID-19 curated routines to something fresh and summer-ready. We go on picnics to enjoy some time outdoors, our hot coffees become iced lattes, and we explore the city through bike rides and hikes. For some of us, however, the positivity of the warmth brings about the physical reminder that climate change is occurring.
The heat we feel on an average, muggy, Michigan summer day may not be through and through directly caused by global warming, the physical activity of discomfort from the heat may bring it to our minds. As we at Detroitisit try to continually be conscious about how we impact the environment on a daily basis and be more sustainable, we have curated a list of a few ways that we, as Detroiters, can be more conscious of our waste and utilization of pollutants.
A REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
For anyone who has suffered from a heat stroke during the summer, it can be agreed that staying hydrated during the hot
days—and even the cooler days—is a vital part of summer. An excellent way to be more sustainable and cut down on single-use plastic bottles is to purchase a water bottle as your summer sidekick.
Purchasing a reusable water bottle may not seem like a big deal, but according to Habits of Waste.org, Americans used roughly 50 billion plastic bottles in 2018 alone. Beyond this fact, the United State’s recycling rate for plastic is under 9%. Thus, even if we purchase a disposable bottle in hopes to recycle it, the bottle has a slim chance of actually being recycled into something else.
A great substitute, if you find yourself dehydrated without your bottle, is Boxed Water. Many gas stations, liquor stores, and grocery stores carry single serving, boxed water bottles that are made out of materials similar to milk cartons. Boxed Water’s container is mostly 92% plant-based, and 66% paper-based. These aspects lead to both a shorter life than a plastic bottle in a landfill and also a higher recycling rate in the U.S. (64.7%).
SKIP THE STRAW / BRING YOUR OWN
This suggestion may be one we have heard over and over, but that doesn’t make it any less of an important topic of discussion. This season, instead of utilizing single-use, plastic straws, grab a sustainable glass, bamboo, stainless steel, or even a foldable straw to keep with you as a substitution, or even go without.
Plastic materials, the 91% that doesn’t get recycled, go right back into the environment. Even when it finally breaks down, it never fully goes away. The smaller chunks get into the water we drink and float in the air we breathe. It may be a pain to drink something cold straight out of a cup or carry a straw in your pocket or bag, but it may help relieve some pain for our future and future generations.
SHOP LOCAL & BE THRIFTY
As vaccination numbers grow, the summer is looking up—especially in the shopping department. There’s nothing quite like getting out of the summer heat to pop into a store for some AC and new season-ready clothes. A great way to be more conscious this summer, if shopping is your thing, is to check out some of Detroit’s local boutiques. This helps to cut down on carbon emissions in shipping and factory-made materials.
Another way to save money and lessen your carbon footprint is to go thrift shopping. Purchasing used furniture, clothes, and materials is a great way to not only cut down on what is sent to landfills but also decrease the generation of new products. Also, let’s be honest, saving money by purchasing things used is a definite plus.
AIR DRY YOUR LAUNDRY
It seems a crime to suggest using our dryers less often in the summer, as it is a tool that grants us dry clothes within the hour, but air-drying our laundry is an excellent way to lessen our carbon footprint. Outdoor clotheslines or even foldable, apartment-style drying racks make for excellent, and reasonably fast, laundry drying substitutes that utilize zero electricity. It does take a bit more time to lay out our clothes or pin them to the line, but in the long run, it is well worth it.
GET AN ALOE VERA PLANT
The connection between summer heat and sun is an obvious one, and thus sunburns are a large part of being outside in the warmer months. An excellent way to relieve the burns’ pain is to apply the gel found inside fresh Aloe Vera to it. The gel helps to soothe the burn and promotes healing of it, making it an excellent, non-plastic solution.
Please be advised that these plants are toxic to pets, so keep them out of reach for the fuzzy parts of your family!