Tips for a Green and Socially Distanced Labor Day

Take Care of Texas
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Labor Day this year will probably look a little different for you. Regardless of how you spend your holiday weekend, we’ve got some simple tips to help you celebrate or shop with environmental responsibility in mind.

Holiday Health and Safety

Please follow your state and local regulations to ensure that you are celebrating responsibly while we persevere through COVID-19. Social distancing, wearing face coverings and gloves, and hand washing are encouraged when preparing for, celebrating, and cleaning up after the holiday festivities.

Across the state, we continue to see personal protective equipment like masks and gloves ending up as litter or being flushed down into our sewers from toilets and street drains. If you’re using disposable masks and gloves, please make sure they end up in the appropriate receptacle.

Labor Day Distanced Outdoors

Check with your city, including the parks department schedule, on what safety-oriented regulations will be in place if you choose to celebrate in public. These tips can apply to any of your outdoor plans, from a backyard barbecue to a socially distanced cookout:

  • Picnic blanket with food and teaUse those reusables — Help prevent unnecessary litter and trash from being sent to landfills by taking reusable plates, cups, utensils, straws, coolers, and lights to your celebration. Reusable to-go containers full of leftovers make great departing gifts for your guests.
  • “Leave no trace” clean up — Whether you’re in the backyard or out at the park or lake, take care of your space by picking up after yourself. “Leave no trace!” Pack some trash bags or plastic grocery sacks to collect your waste for disposal or recycling. Bring extra bags to share with neighbors, too!
  • Compost leftovers if you can — Some food can serve a higher purpose than landfill trash—compost! Not all food can be composted, nor should it be fed to wildlife. Check out this composting blog post for more on what to put in your compost pile.
  • Upcycle decorations and games — Disposable decorations and their packaging becomes waste, so use existing materials for decorations and games for your celebration. If you want to buy new decorations or games, consider reusable products or items found in resale shops.
  • Save power while partying — What needs to be on or running for you to have a good time? If you’re at home celebrating both inside and outside, set your A/C to efficient temperatures and keep exterior doors closed. Or if everyone is outside, turn off any unneeded lights and electronics indoors. If you drove to your celebration destination and want to play music through your car stereo, you can save gas and prevent emissions by turning off your engine, but leave the key in the on position (monitor power so your vehicle’s battery doesn’t die).
  • Stay water-wise while outside — For Texans who like to celebrate with sprinklers, slip-and-slides, or pools, be sure to be conservative with your water. If you can, use the “play” water to water plants and lawn grass so it doesn’t go to waste. For those who are celebrating near a body of water, be sure your trash doesn’t float away on the current.

Labor Day Delivery and Sales

Labor Day is always a popular holiday for sales. Whether you’re perusing store shelves or scrolling for deals online, here are some ways to make your shopping a little more green:

  • Green grocery store with attendantMake one errand trip or bulk order — Have multiple items you want during Labor Day sales? Submit a bulk order online so your products ship together in the least amount of packaging, or plan out your shopping errand stops for a single day to reduce your emissions while driving.
  • Reuse or properly dispose of packaging — Received some delivery boxes from product orders or food deliveries? Hold onto them and reuse them if they’re in good condition. If not, see how your town disposes of boxes and packaging. Some areas accept pizza boxes as recyclable, and some places prefer boxes disassembled to save space.
  • Say no to unnecessary items — When you order food, you can decline the pre-packaged silverware, extra straws and napkins, and sometimes the unnecessary bags if you have your own. This especially applies to eating at home with reusable kitchenware. If you’re out in public celebrating, don’t forget your reusables so you won’t need single-use, disposable items.
  • Think local this Labor Day — Purchasing locally for Labor Day groceries means your dollar stays in the state and your food has fewer “food miles,” and therefore less environmental impact. Catering your food from local restaurants also helps your community as you help take care of your fellow Texans during this pandemic.

There are plenty of other ways to Take Care of Texas during Labor Day, and we’re happy to hear how you’re taking action. Share how you helped Take Care of Texas on our Share Your Story webpage.

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