Summertime, and the Green Living is Easy (With a Chance to Win the Eco-friendly Vacation of Your Dreams!)

a tour group on  Las Tintoreras Island in the Galapagos
A tour group on Las Tintoreras Island in the Galapagos

Editor’s note: Recyclebank has sponsored the publication of this post.

This year, nearly 900 million tourists worldwide hit the roads, skies and seas each year in pursuit of some R&R. While we all need some time off and recreation, this takes a heavy toll on local ecosystems, water, air and wildlife. Being green this summer doesn’t require a complete lifestyle upheaval, though; there are tons of simple changes you can make to your summer vacation (or staycation!) plans. Alone, they may seem small, but these adjustments can collectively make an enormous impact on the environment.

To ensure your summer vacation is guilt-free and easy, Recyclebank, the company that rewards people for taking everyday green actions with discounts and deals, has launched the Green Your Vacation Challenge, an initiative designed to inspire people to make eco-friendly decisions while on vacation. Visit http://greenyourvacation.recyclebank.com/ to learn tips for making your summer (and your wallets!) a little greener, make pledges to take green actions, and take challenges to earn Recyclebank points. There’s even a chance to win more than 100 prizes, including one of two grand prizes: a 10-day Lindblad Expeditions adventure cruise to the Galapagos Islands or a five-day, four-night stay at the eco-luxurious Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo.

5 Ways to Green Any Vacation

Below are some helpful tips. Once you’ve got these down, head over to www.Recyclebank.com to take the Green Your Vacation Challenge to learn more ways to make eco-friendly decisions while on vacation—and get rewarded for doing so!

  1. Leave the extra pair of shoes at home: When packing your bags, consider scaling back and only packing the essentials. That extra pair of shoes will make the plane just a bit heavier, increase fuel consumption, and lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions. Multiply that pair of shoes by one thousand summer travelers, and we’ve just made a huge impact. Alaska Airlines actually found that they could save $10,000 per year in fuel costs just by removing five magazines per plane. Packing a lighter bag is better for your back, and for the fuel usage.
  2. Take the scenic route by train or bus: Sit back, relax and enjoy the view from a train or bus this summer vacation. Train and bus travel leads to fewer emissions per passenger than traveling alone in a car or by plane, and it is often cheaper! Per passenger mile carbon emissions by plane: 0.48 kg. By train: 0.21 kg. By bus: 0.056 kg. Reducing your environmental impact while on vacation: priceless. (Carbon emissions data sourced from Amtrak and American Bus Association.)
  3. Bring a reusable water bottle: Did you know 86 percent of plastic water bottles in the U.S. are still NOT recycled? This year, instead of buying a case for your road trip, take a stainless steel, aluminum or bio-plastic reusable bottle; you never know when you will have easy access to a recycle bin on the road. Also, there is no need to toss your bottle before going through airport security—just empty it out and refill it inside!
  4. Rent your gear: Americans spend $289 billion on outdoor gear activities every year. Packaging, shipping and transporting the gear to your vacation destination all add up to a significant impact on the environment. Consider renting your surfboards and snorkeling gear instead of buying it this year. Rentals can be cheaper and better for the environment!
  5. Give your appliances a vacation: By turning off your hardworking, energy-sucking devices while you are gone, you will be helping your energy bill and the environment. Electronics with digital displays, instant-on features or remote controls consume energy even while not in use, so give them a rest! Remember to unplug TVs, cable boxes, DVD players, computers, printers, digital clocks, etc. when you leave home.

For the next few weeks, Recyclebank is providing weekly tips, challenges and pledges to make your summer vacations greener. By doing so, you can earn Recyclebank points that are redeemable for coupons and gift certificates, and also win one of two eco-friendly dream vacations.

Kermit was wrong; it IS easy being green.

Image credit: Michael R. Perry at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

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