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It’s getting hot in here!

Memorial Day Weekend is just a few short days away, and that extra day off is a perfect excuse to visit a sandy beach or camp out under the stars. Enjoy the outdoors, but keep in mind that a few simple changes make it easy to reduce your impact along the way.

Get grillin’.
Opt for grilling outdoors with propane instead of charcoal briquettes or wood. Although propane is derived from petroleum, it has a very high energy density (meaning more bang for your buck), and burns much cleaner than charcoal briquettes or wood-burning grills. Avoid gasoline and chemical fire-starter liquids at all costs.

Put down the hose.
Though washing your car on a hot summer day can be fun and save some cash, it’s kinder to the planet to leave the job to the professionals. Commercial car washes tread lighter on the environment because most facilities must adhere to strict waste water treatment standards, which prevent chemical runoff such as motor oil, gasoline, waxes and other substances from making their way into local streams, rivers or coastlines. Special pressurized hoses can monitor and reduce water usage, and rinse water is often reused.

If you decide to pull out the bucket and sponge yourself, be sure to use biodegradable soap, try to reuse water runoff (or at least do your washing on the lawn instead of the driveway), and keep water fights to a minimum.

Camp in style.
Pack reusable plates and utensils, and if you must bring disposable items, make them compostable. Buy in bulk to avoid excess packaging, pack your trash, and separate compostables and recyclables before you drop them off. Earth 911 has some other great resources on how to reduce your impact while getting back to nature.

Dig it.
Jump start the summer by starting your own organic garden with an organic garden starter kit. Spend the long weekend planning the ultimate organic garden. May is the ideal month to sow corn, cucumber, cauliflower, melons and tomato seeds. If you’re a city slicker, or have a black thumb, there are plenty of organic herb growing kits that can sprout right from the kitchen counter. Also, here’s a secret: summer garden projects are a great way to introduce kids to science without them suspecting anything of the sort.

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