15 Zero Waste Fall Activities
I adore the summer. It’s my absolute favorite season! However, this year, since we’ve been spending so much time at home and social distancing, I’m learning to enjoy and treasure the changes in seasons. We spend a lot of time in our backyard, and while it’s still really warm in Georgia, I’m noticing the mornings are a bit cooler. I can’t wait to see the changing fall foliage. While we won’t be attending our favorite fall festival, The Georgia Apple Festival, this year, I’m looking forward to celebrating the season in other ways. I whipped up this list of 15 zero waste fall activities to remind myself that there are still a lot of fun activities we can do even if we need to continue to keep our distance and ride out the current pandemic.
1. Pumpkin Decorating
Of course, pumpkin decorating had to be first on the list! This is one of my favorite classic zero waste fall activities. Pinterest has TONS of cool ideas for ways you can decorate pumpkins. I love this list of 65 Easy No Carve Pumpkin ideas. Definitely support a local pumpkin patch when purchasing pumpkins if you can! Decorating pumpkins is a really fun project to do with littles ones too. You can set up a station of crafting materials outside, and let them be creative.
2. Roast Pumpkin Seeds
It’s a little early for carving pumpkins, but when you do in a few weeks, roast the pumpkin seeds! Also, compost the pumpkin guts when carving, because zero waste, duh. I like to roast pumpkin seeds using a simple recipe with just butter and salt. However, there are some really creative pumpkin seed recipes on Pinterest, including Cinnamon Toast Pumpkin Seeds and Sriracha Roasted Seeds.
3. Eat your Favorite Seasonal Foods
I know spring and summer seasonal produce gets a lot of hype (fresh local strawberries, *drool*). But don’t forget all of the amazing produce you can only find locally this time of year. Head to your local farmers market or considering purchasing a CSA box for the freshest brussel sprouts, figs, pears, pumpkins, and winter squash. My personal favorite food this time of year is MUSCADINES! This is the only time of year you can find them, and they’re so delicious.
4. Indulge in Fall Baking
When I think of fall, I think of the smell of apple pie wafting through the kitchen. Take this time to indulge in all your favorite fall recipes. Try making a fresh pumpkin pie without using canned pumpkin. Bake allll the cookies 🙂 These vegan pumpkin cookies with maple glaze sound amazing. I also enjoy making homemade apple sauce in the fall!
5. Learn to Preserve the Harvest
Now is a great time to learn how to preserve the summer and fall’s bounty to enjoy all winter long. Have you considered learning how to can? Make your own jelly or salsa? I love watching Sarah from Sustainable in the Suburbs over on Insta Stories with her Tomato Town project. She purchases a BUNCH of fresh tomatoes and shares how she prepares them to make many jars of tomato sauce that her family can enjoy all year long. Stone Family Farmstead also is an excellent resource for all things food preservation.
6. Make Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar
You can go ahead and stop purchasing apple cider vinegar at the grocery store. It’s super duper simple to make it at home. Snag some organic apples locally while they are in season and make a batch of homemade apple cider vinegar. I promise it’s a lot easier to make that you would think!
7. Fall Scented Pot Simmer
I initially thought of all the amazing scented fall candles that would be great to enjoy this time of year. However, a lot of candles are full of nasty chemicals you don’t want to spread around your home. Instead consider making a fall scented pot simmer. Basically, you just simmer fall inspired food items on the stove and it will make your home smell AMAZING. Apple slices and cinnamon sticks is a personal fave of mine.
8. Go Hiking
It’s finally starting to cool down, making it the perfect time to enjoy a hike in the mountains to check out the changing fall foliage. It’s an absolute treat from Mother Nature to to take in the changing leaves before winter and something I look forward to every year.
9. Go Camping
How about making it an extra cool fall hiking adventure by camping the night in somewhere beautiful! Again, now that the weather is more pleasant and the mosquitoes are going away, it’s really the best time of year to go camping! I realize many of you don’t live in Georgia, but if you do, here’s a post about 5 Primitive Camping Getaways in North Georgia. The Upper Chattahoochee looks really beautiful.
10. Visit the Beach
The summer crowds have gone home. Kids are back in school. And now is a great time to visit the beach! My family and I are actually headed to St. Augustine in a few weeks. We’ve been inside for so many months due to the pandemic. We decided now would be a safe time to visit the beach since it’s not the busy season. I can’t wait for Vasco to get to play in the sand and I’m looking forward to the calming sound of the waves and fresh ocean breeze on my face 🙂
11. Make a Bonfire
This maybe should’ve gone under the go camping section, but honestly making a backyard fire is just as fun. Is there anything better than cozying up to a warm fire with a mug of apple cider on a brisk fall evening?
12. Zero Waste Fall Decorations
In my Zero Waste Halloween blog post, I’ve got some fall decoration ideas for you. But the gist of it is forage for decorations! Use what you can find in your backyard, like pinecones and interesting shaped leaves. Purchase some gourds or winter squash locally to decorate around the house.
We’ll soon be pulling out our favorite winter coats but before you do, consider all of the summer clothes, items, and accessories you DIDN’t use this year. If you didn’t use it, do you really need to keep it stored until next summer? Are there some things you can let go? How about decluttering the kid toys? You know their grandparents are going to give them more toys to play with in a few months, so take some time to declutter. Be sure to donate gently used items. I like to use our local Buy Nothing group to give away items our family no longer uses.
14. Make a PSL at Home
Are you craving a pumpkin spice latte?? I saw Starbucks started selling them earlier than usual this year. But did you know you can make your favorite PSL at home? Skip the disposable cup and make your own! There are lots of recipes on Pinterest, but here’s one to get your started: The Best Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte.
15. Zero Waste Fall Inspired Crafts
Raise your hand if you have kiddos at home! The local library and parks are closed due to Covid and we’ve been spending all of our time at home. Which I love! But sometimes we need some new fun things to play to change things up. Check out these 60 Fall Crafts for Kids to keep your tiny humans busy!
What is your favorite way to celebrate the season? Do you have any fun zero waste fall activities planned for the next few weeks??