5 Ways To Eco-Up Your Labor Day Weekend

Nancy W. Potter

My daughter, our puppy and I spent a month on the road this summer, hanging out with friends and family on the East Coast. One thing became jarringly clear — it’s tough to travel green in a plastic-filled world. We tried best we could to eco it up by buying only what we needed, taking public transportation and carrying water bottles. When I tried to wash some plastic forks after a big dinner for a dozen people, my cousin gave me the stink-eye: “I got those so we wouldn’t have to wash anything,” she said. And who am I to argue? That’s a lot of people. We do the best we can.

But now that we’re home, here are some thoughts on how to be a little bit greener as we go into this holiday weekend:

  • Use the time to cancel any catalogs and magazine subscriptions that pile up and you just end up tossing.
  • Organize all your crap — this way, you’re not buying extra of whatever you can’t find but you know you have (I’m looking at you, packing tape).
  • Hit the farmer’s market for your week’s produce, bread and cheese. Locally sourced food is not only better for you (when it is pesticide-free), but grapes from nearby have a smaller pollution footprint than grapes from, say, Chile.
  • Take the plunge on a bike: If you’ve been thinking about all the short trips that would be so much more fun on a bike, first hit up Craigslist or put a call-out on social media to see if anyone’s selling a used one. If not, take advantage of Labor Day sales to buy new.
  •  It’s sweltering here in SoCal–up to 114 degrees in some places. Instead of sitting in front of your AC all day, which will seriously impact your electric bill, take cool refuge in the library, at the beach, at the movies or even the mall.

I liked this article in AlterNet today, too, about the ways you can go a little greener this holiday weekend: More veggies, less meat; carpool, bike, walk or take public transportation; cut out the plastic; and use a gas grill, as opposed to electric or charcoal. Give it a look, and have a great weekend!

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