Summer 2020 is here and although it may feel a little different this year, there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the season while reducing your plastic and polystyrene foam consumption. Barbecues, backyard parties, picnics, camping, and road trips still await many North Americans this year. Follow these tips for a plastic and polystyrene foam-free summer.

Barbecues, Picnics, and Parties

Backyard barbecues, picnics, and parties can create a lot of single-use waste as prepackaged food, plastic cutlery, and single-use tablecloths and cups are often most convenient. Make your summer parties plastic and foam-free:

  • Dishes & Cutlery: Resist purchasing single-use plastic dishes and cutlery. Instead, buy reusable cutlery, cups, and plates that can be washed and used again later.If you’re still looking for a single-use option, try bamboo tableware or look for 100% biodegradable products. These can be a more sustainable option.
  • Decorations: Skip the single-use plastic decorations and make the switch to natural and reusable decor. Some suggestions are reusable tablecloths, paper garland or streamers, real flowers and plants, and reusing old decorations.
  • Drinks: In addition to using reusable glassware, swap out plastic straws for stainless steel ones. Always choose natural garnishes and bamboo stir sticks.
  • Food: Skip pre-made platters from the grocery store and create your own with your own serving trays.
  • Purchase bulk snacks from a bulk food store.
  • Try purchasing freshly barbecued meats from a local butcher as they often wrap their products in paper instead of plastic and styrofoam.

Road Trips

When we spend time away from home, we often produce more waste. With the warm weather here, we may finally be planning some trips away from home this summer. Keep these tips in mind when you’re on the road:

  • To-Go Cups: Purchase a reusable coffee mug and water bottle to bring with you. Fill these up on your rest stops and avoid purchasing single-use coffees and plastic water bottles.
  • Hotels: If you’re staying in a hotel room, bring your own toiletries instead of using the mini complimentary ones. Bring your own bars of soap and shampoo bars to also reduce plastic waste. Find more suggestions on bathroom swaps here.
  • Food: Package your lunch in reusable containers.
  • Purchase snacks in bulk and portion them into reusable containers and silicone snack bags for the road.
  • One of the best summer treats can actually be waste-free. When stopping for ice cream, ask for your ice cream in a cone instead of a single-use plastic or foam cup.
  • Bring your own cloth or canvas shopping bag so you’re always prepared when making stops on your trip.
  • If you are stopping to shop on your trip, consider seeking out plastic-free stores like farmer’s markets and bulk food stores.
  • Camping: If you’re planning a camping trip, it’s important to always take out what you take into your campground. Remember to bring reusable plates and utensils as well as biodegradable soap and other products on your camping trip. For a full list of camping swaps, check out our checklist here.
  • Eggs can be an easy food to make for a camping breakfast. If you’re bringing eggs on your trip, make sure to purchase them in a 100% recycled paper carton (moulded fibre) instead of plastic or foam cartons.

Enjoying a plastic and polystyrene-foam summer can be easy with some self-reflection and planning ahead. Find more lists and resources like these on our blog.

Ready to make a plastic or foam swap? Share it with us on social media using #ditchplasticpackaging @ditchplasticpackaging.