Written by: Jeff Kranz
Summer time usually means boiling temperatures, sizzling grills, outdoor events and trips to the beach. With global warming contributing to hotter-than-ever summers, there are simple things that you can do to help counter the problem. This year, you can help ease your own personal impact on the environment and atmosphere by following these easy tips for a greener summer.
If you plan on barbequing this summer, consider replacing charcoal briquettes with natural lump charcoal, propane or natural gas. Charcoal briquettes contain accelerants and binding agents, releasing over 100 times as much carbon monoxide and double the amount of CO2 as propane or natural gas. Electric grills produce even more greenhouse gases than charcoal briquettes. Natural lump charcoal, also called “chunk charcoal,” on the other hand is carbon-neutral and contains none of the additives (like lighter fluid) found in briquettes. Many brands are also made with certified sustainably-harvested trees, but often must be shipped overseas to the U.S., countering its environmental benefit.
Cooling down, the eco-friendly way
With average temperatures projected to increase for the next century, the demand for air conditioners has been increasing as well. With this comes an equally alarming increase in the concentration of ozone-damaging compounds they release into the atmosphere. Instead of cranking up the AC, conventional oscillating fans can reduce your carbon footprint and energy consumption. Central air conditioners use about 3500 Watts of energy per hour, while window AC units use about 900. A typical ceiling fan, on the other hand, uses only 75 Watts per hour. Opening your windows and misting your drapes with cold water is an economical, easy way to cool down as well.
Hop on the solar-power train!
If you’re going to be spending a lot of time out in the sun or at the beach this summer, there is a multitude of solar-powered devices you can use to charge up and reduce your carbon emissions and energy consumption all at the same time. The Soladec, found on Amazon, at full charge can fully juice up your smartphone in about two and a half hours. A typical solar charger for your phone can cost anywhere between $30 and $100, while larger mobile solar devices usually cost several hundred dollars. Since we’re talking technology, don’t forget you can send your old cell phones, smartphones and iPhones to TerraCycle through the free Cell Phone Brigade.
Remember to recycle your summertime waste!
With the frequent summer barbeques, parties and outdoor gatherings, make sure you recycle often to keep the summer as waste-free as possible. Remember, TerraCycle’s free collection programs can help you recycle Solo cups, Frito-Lay snack bags, Capri Sun and Honest Kids drink pouches and much more. By collecting and sending in your recyclable packaging and products, you’ll be helping to ensure that future summers are cleaner, and greener.