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Summer is ‘green’
Karen Bell
Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Karen Bell. - photo by Denise Etheridge

 This past weekend we had some great weather, but it was hot! I did the Walk To Dorchester (the whole way) and I was thankful in the morning when there was a nice summer breeze and the sun was not out yet. By the middle of the walk the sun greeted us with a great big smile and you could feel the warm heat.  

It was nice to see all the Liberty County people who came out to walk and it was even nicer to see the walkers using Keep Liberty Beautiful Away From Home receptacles for trash and recyclables. 

When you are away from home it can be challenging to contain your routine of recycling and being green. Here are some suggestions to help you continue to being green, even when you leave your home or when you go on a vacation this summer:  

If traveling, it’s important to consider:

• your destination

• your methods of transportation on the way and during your stay

• your accommodations, and 

• your proposed activities as well as your daily habits.

Keep it simple. Travelers who want to be eco-aware while vacationing can sometimes feel that adding yet another layer of “green to-do’s” is overwhelming. Yet, eco-travel is really not difficult. It has gotten very trendy so take advantage of that. You just need to have a plan.

First, consider your destination. There are now loads of blogs and websites that offer endless possibilities for ecofriendly destinations here in America or around the world. Consider checking out some of these sites. Eco-friendly destinations and activities are now commonplace. It is actually very trendy now for destinations and hotels to be green and sustainable so see what they have to offer.  Some locations offer in room recycling options, providing non-toxic bedding, using renewable energy resources, using non-toxic cleaning products, and using recyclable products. Many accommodations and restaurants now offer organic or farm fresh meals as well.

You should also, consider your mode of transportation to get to your destination as well as your methods of transportation while there. Of course, traveling by plane is necessary in many cases. Take direct flights or one-stop flights to your destination, if you possibly can. Airplanes emit more carbon into the air than any other transportation method. If possible, avoid travel by air once you are at your destination; use other less fuel-intensive means once you reach your destination like trains. Once you are at your location look for carless options when possible. Walking, riding bicycles, and using public transportation are ideal ways to travel green as opposed to driving a rental or your car or taking taxi cabs while on vacation. Check for shuttles that your hotel may offer as well. 

Planning a road trip? Keep a litter bag (or if your family generates a lot of trash, use a small garbage bag) in your car whether you are traveling locally or on the road. If you really want to go the distance and get a green star, keep a small bag for also collecting any recyclables. Please, do not toss your trash out the car window and please make sure your children do not either. Also as you are driving, walking, boating, make sure that you secure your trash and also other items so they do get blown out of your vehicle and become litter on our roads.

On the road, reduce the amount of plastic water bottles by making sure each family member has a reusable drink container – and straw – and uses them. The U.S. generated almost 7 million tons of plastics as non-durable goods, such as plates and cups in 2018. Only 9 percent of the 14 million tons of total plastic waste was recycled. Same thing goes for snacks. You can buy snacks in bulk and pack for trips and activities instead of buying individual snack items. You will reduce the amount of trash generated and probably save a lot of money too. Beer drinkers of the world, it is time to realize that your truck is NOT a trash can so when you toss your empty beer cans and beer cartons in the back, they can end up on the road. 

Whatever way you travel, plan to pack lightly. Lighter baggage means reduced fuel expended and less fuel emissions. Learn to pack effectively, too. Plenty of sites online can provide tips for maximizing your packing in fewer bags. Now think about your daily routine and the activities that you are planning. Reuse bedding and towels. If the hotel offers this as a feature, be sure to do as instructed so that the items are not taken away by cleaning staff each day. Recycle all products that are recyclable. If the place you’re staying in doesn’t seem to have recycling facilities, inquire at the front desk about where you can find them. Most green hotels and resorts will use in-room or nearby recycling bins to assist you. 

Only charge as much as needed for electronics and then remove the charger from the plug. Once the charger indicates that your batteries have been recharged, leaving them in any longer is a waste of energy. Switch off lights and appliances before leaving your room. Only use those lights and appliances that you really need to use. Treat water as the precious resource that it is. Use only as much as you need to shower/bathe and to clean your teeth and flush the toilet. Avoid using disposable containers and items wherever possible. Take a bottle for your water and avoid buying bottled water when it is safe or viable to do so. Always dispose of trash and recycling responsibly.

At ball games, parks, and beach and pool activities, make sure everyone in your family knows that if you generate trash, it goes in a trash can and should never be dumped on the ground, the beach, or in the stadium or arena. Don’t forget to plan activities that will be fun and healthy for the environment, too.  

With just a little bit of effort you can plan incredible summer fun and feel so good about being a friend to the earth too. For more information about Keep Liberty Beautiful programs and living earth friendly, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at (912) 880-4888 or klcb@libertycountyga.com or www.keeplibertybeautiful.org.

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