There is no doubt that summer is upon us, with all its blazing glory. Last month we shared some tips with you to keep cool in the heat of summer. Given the current heat wave, we hope some of those tips are helping you to stay cool. However, there are so many other opportunities to lessen your environmental impact this summer and throughout the year.

Hydrate without waste: It is always important to stay hydrated, especially in the heat of summer. Rather than cycling through countless plastic bottles, use a reusable water bottle made from stainless steel, glass or BPA-free plastic to refill throughout the day. This saves you money and reduces waste! If you don't have a reusable bottle and would like one for free, visit the ECOS office in SU 105 during the school year to pick one up. Already have a reusable water bottle? Try bringing a reusable mug or thermos to drink your coffee or tea during the day as well. This is an even greater waste reduction because coffee cups cannot be recycled in our region. Plus, most coffee shops offer a discount for bringing your own cup!

Travel wisely: The summer months offer many of us more time to take trips, near or far. No matter where you are traveling, consider reducing your footprint by traveling wisely. Before driving, consider alternative transportation options, such as the bus or train. If driving is the best option for you, consider using your most fuel efficient vehicle, ensure your tires are properly inflated, and travel the speed limit to achieve better fuel efficiency.

Let the sun do your laundry: If only the sun could wash, fluff, and fold for us! Even though the sun won't really do all of our laundry, it is the best working drier we've ever known! One of our favorite summer (and year-round) tips is to line dry your clothes and linens. In the summer this is especially wonderful because the warm, dry weather helps laundry dry quickly, while saving energy and reducing appliance-generated heat in your home.

Camp and play with less waste: The long days and nice weather make summer a great time to camp, hike, or otherwise play outside. Oftentimes this includes picnics, barbeques, and other times to share food with family and friends. When camping, picnicking, barbequing or hiking this summer, reduce waste by using reusable dishware. There are many options for lightweight, easily-packable reusable dishes to take camping or hiking. If you are having a picnic with friends, encourage everyone to bring their own reusable dishes. Using durable dishware reduces waste, conserves resources, and makes it easier to go back for seconds :)

Do you have favorite summer sustainability tips of your own? We'd love to hear them! Share them with us on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/sourecycles/ . You can view more news and sustainability tips at http://sustainability.sou.edu/news/ .

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