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If you have further questions or can't find information, please contact Hennepin County Environment and Energy:

kristin.pierskalla@hennepin.us

612-348-3777

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Summer fun without all the waste

With school out for the summer, most parents have their children enrolled in a host of different activities to keep them occupied. While summer schedules take us out of our routines, you don’t have to forgo your reuse habits. Below are some tips to remember to keep your child’s summer low-waste.

Meals on the go

Keep packing your child’s snacks and lunches in reusable containers and remember to send a refillable water bottle when they go to summer activities and camps.

When heading to the beach or summer festivals—including the Minnesota State Fair—pack a reusable dining set for eating at food trucks and concession stands. Include real forks, spoons and knives, cloth napkins, reusable cups and containers for any uneaten food you want to save for later. If picnicking, skip the paper plates and bring some lightweight reusable plastic or metal ones instead. Camping gear works well. You can find all of these items for little expense at your local thrift store. Keep the items packed up and ready to go in a convenient spot so you always remember to take it when heading out.

Outdoor fun

Gear up for all your summer sports activities with reusable sports gear. Check the Choose to Reuse directory for retailers or ask in local online groups for the gear and sizes you need.

Enjoy the outdoors without owning all the gear. Some outdoor retailers—including REI and Hoigaards, the U of MN Wellness Center and outdoor outfitters throughout the state—rent equipment including camping and backpacking gear, canoes, kayaks and paddleboards. Additionally, the major Minneapolis lakes have canoes, paddleboards, kayaks and bikes for rent by the day or hour.  There’s also a kayak share service on the Mississippi River, paddleshare.org.

If your child has outgrown their bike, check used bike shops and local online groups for a used one rather than buying new. You’ll spend far less on an item your child will likely only use for a year or two.

Expanding young minds

Visit the Hennepin County Libraries often to keep your child well read all summer at no cost to you—their teachers will thank you!

Back to school shopping

And finally, hit the garage sales and thrift stores for used back to school clothes and supplies. Why wait for the back to school sales when you’ll find the best prices all summer long when you shop used!