Thoughtful choices - Big Impact

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Keep Your Cool and Save Money, Too

There are many opportunities to reduce waste when traveling away from home on business or on vacation. From packing and planning your trip, to hitting the road, learn how you can make a difference by going green.

Planning and Packing

  • Before you leave home, adjust the air conditioning and water heater thermostats to for optimal energy efficiency.
  • Rather than buying small, travel-sized toiletries, fill reusable containers with shampoo, soap and other necessities.
  • Reuse plastic or paper shopping bags to pack items for your trip and recycle them afterwards. Plastic shopping bags are perfect for keeping dirty shoes and wet bathing suits separate from other items in your suitcase, while paper bags are great for packing snacks for the car.Book flights with airlines that offer electronic tickets to reduce paper waste.

On the Road

  • If staying in a hotel, check the bedding and linen policy with housekeeping. Some hotels ask that the customer request the bedding or linen be laundered by putting a specific note card on the bed and leaving the towels on the floor. This practice conserves water resources. If your hotel does not take part in this, use a comment card to ask them to do their part to protect our environment by adopting this practice.
  • When you leave your hotel room, switch off the air conditioning, lights and TV to reduce energy use.
  • While on your trip, remember to take only the amount of products that you need from restaurants or lodgings. Take only napkins, condiment packets, free brochures, maps or coupons that you will actually use.
  • Take along a plastic bag to collect your used beverage containers for recycling at rest stops.
  • When traveling by car or RV, make sure the vehicle is well maintained. This improves fuel economy which prevents pollution and saves you money.
  • If you change your own motor oil, recycle it at a "quick lube" shop, gas station or auto store that accepts used motor oil for recycling.

Fun For Kids

  • To pass the time on long drives or rainy vacation days, bring scrap paper for eco-friendly drawing and games.
  • Start an art project with "found" objects. Collages and sculptures made from discarded items are a growing trend.
  • Shop at stores that specialize in used sports equipment. You'll save money and promote reuse.
  • When you're stuck inside on a rainy day, clean out your closet and collect old clothes and toys for donation to a charity or your next garage sale.
  • Spend your free time volunteering at a local park or helping out with environmental clean-ups.
  • Build a backyard fort or tree house from recycled materials, such as wood scraps, cardboard and other found items.
  • Get ready for school next year by making locker decorations out of old CDs. Decorate them with paint, stickers, rhinestones or photos; stick magnetic tape to the back; and they're ready to spruce up your locker.

Enjoying the Outdoors

  • Summer is a popular time for barbecues and other outdoor festivities. At your next party, set the picnic table with reusable dinnerware or ask people to bring their own reusable plates and containers. And remember to recycle all bottles and cans after the party.
  • At the beach, use old buckets and other items in your house to build sand castles instead of buying new products at the store.
  • When visiting beaches and parks, be sure to take out everything you bring in, so you leave places unlittered and undisturbed.
  • Hot summer days require gallons of thirst quenchers. Be sure to recycle the used beverage containers. Consider putting a filter on your water tap and refilling bottles with the filtered water. Instead of buying many small drink bottles, buy drinks or drink mixes in bulk and fill reusable bottles.
  • When making reservations at campgrounds, ask about their recycling facilities.

Protect the beach

Protecting beaches isn't just something you do at the beach. In fact, some of the most important things you can do are at home.

At home

  • Regularly maintain your septic system.
  • Use natural substances like compost to fertilize gardens and lawns. If you must use fertilizers or pesticides, read the label and use as little as possible.
  • Throw trash in proper containers. Don't leave it on the ground as it can be swept up by runoff and carried to the beach.
  • Don't throw motor oil in storm drains. Recycle it at your local service shop.

At the beach

  • Use walkovers instead of walking across the sensitive dunes. This will help reduce erosion.
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle the things you take to the beach - don't leave them there.
  • Throw away your trash and pet waste by using public trash containers at the beach or taking it home with you.
  • Use public restrooms.
  • Pick up trash.
  • Cut the rings off plastic six-pack holders so that animals - like fish, turtles or seals - can't get tangled in them. Leave no solid plastic loops.
  • Join local beach, river or stream clean ups.
  • Dispose of boat sewage in onshore sanitary facilities instead of dumping it into the water.
  • Don't disturb wildlife and plants … you're visiting their home.

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