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Being Eco-Friendly at the Ballpark and Beyond

Summer is here, which means you are more likely to be out and about at sporting events, live outdoor concerts and similar locations. There are several important things you can do to reduce waste, reduce use of chemical and artificial products and honor the Jewish principle of baal tashchit when attending these types of outings.

Get there by foot, bike or public transit: Depending on where you live, there may be several options for using less or no fuel to get to your outdoor destination. For example, if you are attending a concert at a local park, consider biking or walking rather than driving. Going to a ballgame in the midtown or downtown region of your city? Use public mass transit instead of taking your car. Mass transit is better for the environment and you also may find it is cheaper and faster than trying to get your car out of a crowded parking lot at the end of a game.

Think reusable/recyclable with items you take with you: Chances are, you are going to eat or drink as part of your visit to cheer on your favorite team or watch outdoor Shakespeare. So make it a point to bring items you can re-use whenever possible. Bring your own stainless steel water bottle rather than buying bottled water. Pack munchies in re-usable glass containers rather than in throwaway plastic bags. If you must purchase food at your venue (probably unavoidable at a sporting event), look for recycling bins on your way out rather than throwing things in the regular trash bins. Many sporting locations now regularly recycle. St. Louis’s Busch Stadium currently diverts close to 30 % of all items purchased at a game and recruits volunteers for a Green Team at each event to help collect recyclable plastic and aluminum.

Go natural with sunscreen and bug repellent: As temperatures and humidity rise, you will surely want to protect yourself with sunscreen and bug spray. But think twice about the type of products you use. Many conventional brands contain chemicals which may be toxic and harmful to you long term. As an alternative, look for sunscreens made with natural ingredients (look for brands such as Alba Botanica and Jason). For bug spray, consider using a simple make your own recipe using essential oils to keep the bugs away. Here is one suggested way to make your own product that has a shelf life of six months : combine 10-25 drops of essential oil, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel. Then place a few drops on your body or clothing. For mosquitoes, the best essential oils are lemon balm (citronella), thyme or lavender. For tics, the best essential oils are lavender, Rose Geranium or eucalyptus.

Originally posted in jewishinstlouis at http://jewishinstlouis.org/

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Gail Wechsler is the Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She is the staff person for the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the JCRC and a part of the JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative.
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