Sustainable for Spooky Season

Though the Texas weather is holding on to the heat, it’s officially time for fall.

Story by Anna Ranabijuli
Illustrations by Reneé Koite

The coming of autumn brings fantasies of lazing under amber leaves and sipping apple cider on a park bench. The breeze is a perfect excuse to corral those around you for an outdoor excursion. Unfortunately, with the coming of the holidays, waste in the United States is about to pile up big time. It’s important to take strides to be sustainable before the holidays (and all year long!) to combat the pressure put on our ecosystem. Check out the list below for a few fall activities that are straight out of a feel-good movie, as well as super sustainable.

Go to a Local Farm and Celebrate the Harvest

For a wholesome outing with friends, head to a local farm to pick apples, pumpkins or any other fall produce! Just jump into the car and bustle on down to one of these “u-pick” farms, where one can spend the day plucking fruit off branches, eating lunch on a barrel of hay and jamming out to the radio in the car. Beyond the memories made during this trip, visiting and buying from local farms supports the local economy, and reduces the miles that food travels.

Camping

Texas is known for its beautiful natural landscapes. This fall, take advantage of them with a weekend camping trip to one of Texas’ national parks or one of Austin’s local campsites. Spend the evening making s’mores, and fall asleep while gazing at the stars. Practice sustainable camping methods when camping, and raise awareness for environmental preservation in your close networks. The majority of camping fees paid go towards maintaining the land.


DIY Sustainable Bird Feeder

Got spare plastic bottles sitting around the house? Before chucking them in the recycling bin, have some fun by turning them into bird feeders. The Northern Mockingbird is known for singing during the Texas fall season to start claiming their winter territories. Round up a group of friends and spend an afternoon cutting away at bottles. Pro tip: get funky and decorate feeders with non-toxic paint. Soon enough, autumn mornings will be spent drinking coffee and admiring choirs of songbirds.

DIY Fall-Scented Face Scrub

The arrival of fall can also signal the return of allergy season, and brisk winds call for a change in skin care routines. Instead of going to the store and tossing a plastic face wash bottle in your cart, make a DIY face scrub in a reusable jar. Ditching plastic is a huge plus, but the exfoliator can be customized to include scents like cinnamon, apple, and pumpkin. The best part? At the end of the day, you can drift asleep with a new glow from your sustainable scrub.

Picnic Cleanup

Haven’t had enough of the outdoors yet? Enjoy a day picnic at one of Austin’s local parks, and complete the outing with a clean-up effort. With some trash bags and disposable gloves, wrangle friends into a game of who can pick up the most trash — winner gets first dibs on the picnic food. A day of community service, good food and fall weather is a phenomenal way to connect with just about anyone.