News Flash • Summer Sustainability Tips – Lexington, MA | Official Website (.gov)

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With summer in full swing, it is important to consider how our summer activities may impact the environment. Check out a few sustainability tips below on how to enjoy your summer sustainably!
Spending time outside is a much-loved part of summer for many people, and it is important to ensure we take care of the outdoors and our conservation areas. Here are some easy ways to do so:
 Learn from Lexington Conservation about great places to get outside in Lexington.
Summer weather typically means more opportunities to hold outdoor celebrations and spend time with friends and family outside. Whether throwing a party, having a picnic, or inviting some friends over for a backyard barbecue, consider using certified compostable dishware and cutlery to minimize the amount of waste your event produces. When using compostable products, you and your guests can toss both your dishware and unfinished food straight into the compost bin. That way it can be turned into natural soil instead of being sent straight to a landfill.
If you don’t yet compost but would like to give it a try, you have options! Lexington offers two main composting opportunities: Lexington’s free Curbside Composting Pilot Program and the community compost drop-off program LexSORT.
Summer days can get quite hot and humid in Massachusetts, and the constant blasting of air conditioners consumes large amounts of energy and can spike energy bills. This level of energy consumption can heighten greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants emitted by non-renewable energy sources that damage our environment. Consider closing your blinds when not home during the day and opening your windows at night (especially when there is a nice breeze). These steps help cool down your home and reduce the need to turn your AC on high. 
Laundry is a major consumer of both energy and water, and may be needed even more in the summer after long days outside in the heat. To reduce energy use, think about hang-drying your clothes instead of using a clothes dryer. Additionally, running your washing machine & dishwasher outside peak hours can help reduce strain on our electric grid and help you save money. Peak hours tend to fall in the middle of the day, so consider doing your chores in the evening or early morning.
Wearing sunscreen is one of the best ways to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Choosing mineral sunscreens is a great way to protect yourself and the environment. Many sunscreen brands contain several chemicals that damage the environment. These include chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are dangerous to reef systems and other marine life when they run off or wash off into our waterways. Mineral-based sunscreens, however, lack these harmful substances while still successfully defending against UV rays, making them a great alternative. Learn more about which chemicals to avoid from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Nice weather provides a great opportunity to break out your bike or go for a walk! When the weather allows, consider biking or walking to your destination instead of driving a car. Gasoline-powered cars produce pollutants and greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. While electric cars do not directly emit these pollutants, they still impact our environment through their high energy consumption. Choosing to bike or walk instead helps lower your environmental footprint and provides a great way to be active.
Learn more about transportation options in town on the Lexington Bike, Walk, Bus webpage.
As tempting as it is to start your car ahead of time on a hot day to cool it down with the AC, doing so is a form of idling. Idling, or leaving your vehicle running while it is not in motion, actually produces more exhaust emissions than a car in motion. These emissions include greenhouse gasses and other pollutants that are damaging to the environment. As a result, Massachusetts General Law prohibits vehicles from idling for any longer than 5 minutes at a time (M.G.L., Chapter 90, section 16A). Instead of starting your car ahead of time, consider rolling down your windows to release the trapped heat and help cool things down.
Shopping sustainably means choosing products that are created in an environmentally friendly and socially responsible manner. This means choosing products that have minimal negative impact on the environment and people, such as through lower greenhouse gas emissions, eco-friendly packaging, sustainable farming practices, and fair labor conditions. A great bonus of the nice weather is that many communities hold regular farmers’ markets that sell fresh, local, and sustainably raised food. Shopping at your local farmer’s market is an easy way to shop sustainably, find fresh products, and support local businesses all at the same time.
Lexington’s local Farmers’ Market is held every Tuesday from 2:00 PM to 6:30 PM (weather permitting). Learn more about the Lexington Farmers’ Market on their website.
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