September 1, 2023

5 Ways To Make Your Labor Day Weekend More Sustainable

By: Kelvey Vander Hart

Summer may be over, but at least Labor Day weekend gives us a reason to extend the summer festivities just a little bit longer. Whether you’re traveling or staying home, you likely have some sort of fun plans for your long weekend. Here are five ways to make those plans go green: 

Flying or driving? Buy some carbon offsets 

If you’re hopping on a plane or into a car this weekend, you’re creating carbon emissions. Carbon offsets (payments that fund carbon capture or industry carbon reduction) are one way to reduce the negative impact these emissions usually have on the planet. And now, thanks to technological innovation and the free market, it has never been simpler for individuals to purchase offsets for themselves. I personally use Klima, but there are many options you can look into. 

Pack a water bottle 

The average American uses about 13 plastic water bottles every month, more than 150 every year. That is a lot of plastic pollution, and we can all do our part in helping to reduce it. Simply grab a reusable water bottle from home when you head out for the day or on a trip. You’ll be doing the planet (and your health) a favor. 

Look for unpackaged fruits and veggies 

If you’re getting ready for your Labor Day cookout, staples like watermelon, corn, and more are probably on the menu. As you hit the grocery store or your local farmer’s market, look to reduce waste by buying unpackaged produce. Hardier fruits and vegetables can go straight into your basket or cart, while items like leafy greens or berries can go into fabric containers (like clean old pillowcases), empty glass jars, and other containers you have around the house. 

Use actual dishes or eco-friendly disposables 

If you’re hosting, it can be tempting to find the cheapest stack of disposable plates possible. But do the planet a favor–either reach for actual dishes and plan on washing a few more than usual or purchase eco-friendly disposables. If going the disposable route, look for compostable dishes and cutlery that are made out of recycled or plant-based materials. 

Leave no trace 

Wherever you may go this Labor Day weekend, strive to leave nothing behind. Going on a hike or to the beach? Pack everything out with you. Staying at home? Challenge yourself to go as waste free as possible over the weekend. ‘Leave no trace’ is more than just a rule for the outdoorsy – it is a challenge to our consumption habits. 

Here’s to a more sustainable Labor Day weekend! Enjoy your holiday.