Having a picnic, enjoying nature, or going on a road trip? Consider our top tips to reduce your plastic footprint this summer.



Parties and picnics can create a lot of waste since single-use plastic tableware and pre-made foods are convenient options to serve large groups of people. What are the sustainable alternatives?

  • Resist purchasing single-use plastic dishes and cutlery just because it’s easier for cleanup. Instead, use reusables that can be washed and reused for future events by yourself and others. Single-use plastics, such as straws, utensils, and stir sticks are included in the Government of Canada’s upcoming single-use plastics ban. While the ban is not yet in effect, get an early start with reusables for your next get together.
  • Avoid single-use plastic decorations like balloons and switch to decor that is natural or reusable. Balloons and glitter are significant sources of microplastics, which harms wildlife in our environment. Consider real flowers and plants, reusable tablecloths, paper streamers/banners, and creative DIY decorations.
  • Skip pre-packaged food trays and make your own party favourites served in reusable serving platters. Salads, vegetable, fruit, and cheese trays are very simple to make at home and can save you money.
  • Swap single-use plastic cups for reusable containers, choose natural garnishes, and of course, skip plastic straws and stirrers. Replace plastic straws with reusable or paper ones. 



We typically generate more waste when we are away from home and with the long days and warm weather, summer presents more opportunities to travel.  

  • Purchase a reusable coffee mug and water bottle to bring with you to stay hydrated on the road. Try out refreshing drinks in your reusable bottle like iced coffees and teas, slushies, or smoothies. Make your water extra refreshing by adding fresh citrus fruits.
  • Bring your own toiletries when staying at hotels instead of using the small complimentary ones. In fact, many hotels are starting to phase out these small plastic bottles in an effort to reduce plastic waste.
  • Stops for ice cream is a must for summer vacations. Choose the plastic-free (and edible!) option and get yours on a cone instead of a plastic cup and spoon. Not a fan of cones? Ask for yours in a reusable bowl.
  • Make a trip to a local plastic-free store. As more Canadians take action to reduce their plastic footprint, bulk and plastic-free stores are popping up across the country. Most stores offer bulk food, cleaning supplies, toiletries, as well as various reusable products. Find a store near you at PlasticActionCentre.ca. Don’t forget your reusable bag!



Kingston is close to several parks and conservation areas. If you are camping or hiking at one of these natural areas this summer, it’s imperative to keep your plastic footprint to a minimum and leave no trace behind.

  • Rather than using single-use water bottles for convenience, purchase a large water jug and refill at a water tap at the park or bring enough for your journey.
  • Skip prepackaged snacks. Make your own trail mix, granola bars, muffins, and portion into reusable containers or snack bags.
  • Help keep our natural areas clean. Recycle, compost, or dispose of any waste you produce while outdoors. If no receptacles are available on the trail, pack it out with you.
  • Pack reusable dishes and cutlery instead of plastic.
  • Purchase quality, durable gear that will last for years. If you don’t camp very often, consider borrowing equipment from a friend or renting what you need. 



Summer goes by fast and fall will be here before we know it. Join us for the 20th annual Waste Reduction Week in Canada campaign from Oct. 18 – 24, 2021. Start planning and promoting the week in your community, at your workplace, or school.

  • Register an event
  • Proclaim Waste Reduction Week in your municipality, organization, business, or school.
  • Light up landmarks or buildings across Kingston in the campaign’s colours, blue and green.
  • Learn about and take action on Waste Reduction Week’s seven themes.
  • Follow @WRWCanada on social media and join the conversation using hashtag #WasteReductionWeek


Read the full story at Sustainable Kingston