The exhale of summer serenity – warm days, cool nights, quieter beaches. The few “lasts” before the change of season. As we bid farewell to the whispers of summer passing and celebrate the holiday with friends and family, our year-long efforts of practicing sustainability can sometimes be left out amidst the festivities. Luckily, we’ve put together a few eco-friendly tips to help you enjoy your Labor Day weekend with the environment in mind.

Keep It Local

According to a recent survey, nearly 53% of Americans are planning to take a trip over Labor Day weekend. Unfortunately, most forms of transportation contribute to greenhouse gasses. To minimize your holiday footprint, choose a destination that’s closer to home and consider carpooling. When was the last time you explored your local community?

Avoid Plastic Party Ware

Plastic cutlery is used for only a few minutes, but it takes centuries to disappear and break up into tiny particles also known as micro-plastics, polluting oceans, and harming marine life. If you’re planning on hosting a gathering, use reusable cups, dishes, and utensils.

Cook Outdoors

Not only does grilled food taste great, it keeps the heat outdoors. A few changes to your kitchen habits can help keep your home energy bills at bay if you’re preparing a big Labor Day feast. Limit your oven and stove use and get your grill on outside! Bonus – buy local and seasonal produce. Seasonal vegetables and fruits produced locally are often fresher since they don’t require long-distance transport. What’s more, buying locally produced food helps support your local farmers and your community’s economy.

Save Your Scraps

Organic materials, such as food waste and yard waste, account for 30% of what people throw away. When food and yard waste decompose in landfills, methane gas is released. Try eating your leftovers or composting if you need to throw some away.

Give Your AC a Break

The dog days of summer have officially made their debut in some areas of the country. And as some of us escape these sultry days by residing near a body of water, you can find the rest of us taking shelter in the cool indoors. To keep your air conditioning cost down, turn up your thermostat up a few degrees and use fans to keep air circulating. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, using a ceiling fan will let you raise the thermostat by 4 degrees.

Challenge yourself year-round by applying some of the above tips and create smart energy habits to help save money, while benefiting the planet!