Despite what the calendar says, it’s not sweater weather yet. So even if the Labor Day weekend in the U.S. signals the last hurrah of summer, it’s also a time to savor the outdoors, bond with loved ones, and indulge in some much-needed relaxation. But here’s a twist: why not make your Labor Day celebrations not just enjoyable but also eco-friendly?
From eco-conscious camping to responsible grilling to volunteering, there’s still time to add to your to-do list before the onset of chilly, colorful autumn. And we’ve got you covered to ensure your Labor Day weekend is as green as the leaves on a summer’s day. Here are some eco-friendly ideas to wrap up the season in sustainable style.
Choose greener transportation
Kicking off your sustainable Labor Day weekend starts with how you get there. Opt for carpooling, public transportation, biking, or even walking. This will reduce both carbon emissions and traffic congestion. If you’re traveling greater distances, consider the advantages of renting an eco-friendly vehicle or taking the train, where accessible. Also, don’t overdo it when packing your bags. Every pound adds up whether you’re flying or driving. Which is one of the reasons to take SaltyLama’s eco-friendly laundry detergent sheets along for the trip. Not only is the packaging slim and light, but you’ll be able to keep the few clothes you bring clean and fresh in a sustainable way. It’s not just about the destination — the journey can be an eco-adventure too.
Go for outdoor picnics and gatherings
Labor Day and picnics make a perfect pairing for an end-of-summer celebration! Not only is it a great way to enjoy the fresh air, but it allows you to turn off the AC for a while. When planning your picnic, be sure to bring along reusable picnicware like bamboo plates, stainless steel cutlery, and cloth napkins to minimize single-use plastic waste. Pack locally sourced, organic foods in reusable containers and choose finger foods that require minimal utensils.
Explore nature trails and hikes
If you’re looking for eco-friendly Labor Day activities, what better way to celebrate than immersing yourself in the beauty of nature? Lace up your hiking boots, pack a reusable water bottle, and head to a local trail or park. Whether you’re walking, hiking, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll, connecting with nature is good for our overall health and reminds us of the importance of preserving our natural world.
Participate or host a beach cleanup
If you're lucky enough to be near the coast, consider organizing or participating in a beach cleanup. Spend a few hours giving back to the environment by picking up litter and marine debris. You can contribute to cleaner oceans while also enjoying one last beach day before the end of summer. You can also take advantage of some Labor Day activities along the way! Kayaking, swimming, and paddle-boarding are all environmentally-friendly ways to spend time on the water. Just remember to prioritize ocean-friendly and reef-safe sunscreen to protect marine ecosystems.
Go on a Labor Day camping trip
For those seeking a more adventurous Labor Day, camping might just be the answer. Choose campgrounds with sustainable practices, and camp as lightly as possible to minimize waste and easily pack up what you bring in. Then, bring along reusable camping gear, use biodegradable soap, and leave no signs of your journey behind — meaning don’t damage the land, pick plants, or leave litter.
Visit the farmers market and local festivals
Labor Day often coincides with vibrant farmers markets and local festivals. Support your community by exploring these events and purchasing locally grown, seasonal produce. Not only will you be enjoying fresh and delicious food from your region, but you’ll also reduce the carbon footprint associated with transporting goods across long distances. Supporting your local economy is an important way of living a more sustainable life, so be sure to give back to your community throughout the year.
Have fun grilling out with plant-based options
Labor Day and grilling often go hand in hand, and so it’s a great excuse to host a sustainable BBQ. Try for a plant-based barbecue by grilling vegetables and homemade plant-based burgers. Consider sustainably sourced meats or seafood if you choose to include them. You should also use natural lump charcoal or propane for sustainable alternatives to traditional charcoal briquettes. And if you’re hosting an eco-friendly Labor Day BBQ, remember to serve on reusable plates to do those meals justice and save unnecessary plastic from winding up in landfills or our oceans.
Volunteer for a cause
Celebrate Labor Day weekend by giving back to your community. Beyond beach cleanups, there are so many ways to get involved. Volunteer at local charities, shelters, or environmental organizations. Participate in events that promote community service and leave a positive impact on those in need. Sharing your time and skills not only spreads kindness but also reinforces the values of Labor Day.
Be conscious of your impact
Finally, ensure your Labor Day celebrations manage waste responsibly. Set up recycling and composting stations to encourage eco-friendly disposal. Make sure all waste is properly sorted and disposed of, leaving the environment as clean as you found it. If you’ve engaged in a cleanup activity, remember to dispose of collected trash appropriately so it doesn’t end up back where you found it. If you’re hosting a get-together, ask guests to bring reusable containers to take home leftovers. This will help prevent food waste. You can also freeze additional food as needed.
Remember that by embracing eco-friendly practices you’re not only celebrating this Labor Day weekend in style but you’re committing to a greener future. With a few simple steps, you can make a positive impact on the environment while also creating lasting memories sure to carry you well past the cool and wintry months ahead.