Barbecues, red Solo cups, and fireworks are tradition at any 4th of July celebration. Unfortunately, some of the same things that make Independence Day so much fun are also hurting the environment.
Don’t worry, though. We’ve got you covered.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to easily green-up your 4th of July celebration. From green grilling to bamboo utensils, these sustainable switches will have the planet thanking you come July 5th.
Here’s your guide to making this year’s 4th of July red, white, and green!
Ditch the Single-Use Plastics & Opt for Bamboo
After a lively 4th of July party, the number of dishes that need washing is staggering. In order to make life easier, most people turn to single-use plastic plates and cutlery. Although they’re undeniably convenient, single-use plastics still do some damage to the planet.
“Some estimates put the number of individual plastic utensils wasted at 40 billion per year in the United States alone.” – Forbes
Luckily, there’s a solution that allows you to preserve the planet without sacrificing your sanity. Compostable bamboo dinnerware is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic plates and utensils at any 4th of July celebration.
Additionally, these greener alternatives to plastic are strong enough to hold a thick hamburger, baked beans, and a mountain of potato salad. The best part is that, at the end of the day, they can go right into the compost bin.
Compost Food Scraps
At the end of any food-filled party — especially an energetic 4th of July celebration — there’s bound to be plenty of leftovers. Not all leftover food, though, is fit to be packed up in a to-go bag. So, what will you do with the half-eaten corn cob or the watermelon that’s been sitting in the sun all day?
Fortunately, the compost bin is a great home for almost all leftover food scraps!
Whether you have your own compost bin or you use a service, composting is the premier way to sustainably and productively recycle food scraps. Most organic material can go into the compost, but try to avoid putting in any meat or overly greasy food — this can attract unwanted pests.
Once your compost is in the bin, let it simmer. By the time you’re ready to plant a garden in the fall, your nutrient-rich compost will be warm and ready-to-go.
Green-Up Your Grilling
No 4th of July celebration is complete without a home-grilled meal. Whether it be a hamburger, hotdog, or black bean burger, good barbecue is an Independence Day staple.
Grilling is a summer essential, but it can also release harmful pollutants into the air. Luckily, there are a few simple changes any grilling aficionado can make to green-up their grilled cuisine.
- Avoid petroleum-based lighter fluids. Try an electric charcoal starter or natural lighter fluids instead.
- Choose high-quality charcoal. Charcoal made from wood scraps burns cleaner and reduces pollution.
- Clean your grill regularly. This will reduce preheating times and prevent unnecessary smoke.
- Switch to gas, if possible. Gas grills release fewer pollutants into the air than charcoal, and they’re more efficient.
Even though it might be tough to imagine the holiday without traditional barbecue, a few simple changes can make a huge difference. These tactics for sustainable grilling will elevate your summer snacks and make your 4th of July celebration the greenest one yet!
Try Sustainable Alternatives to Fireworks
Fireworks are the defining feature of the classic 4th of July celebration, but they’re also a force for pollution. In fact, a 2015 study found that — across the U.S. — air pollution increased by about 42% from the evening of July 4th to the morning of July 5th.
Although fireworks are harmful to the planet and the human respiratory system, there are still ways to enjoy Independence Day safely.
- A laser light show will captivate and mesmerize the audience.
- A superabundance of glowsticks is sure to light up the night and the party!
- Sparklers are a lower-impact option if you absolutely need some pyrotechnics.
Fireworks and July 4th are so tightly intertwined that it can be hard to imagine one without the other. However, eco-friendly alternatives do exist, so why not preserve the planet and have fun at the same time?
A Red, White & Green 4th of July Celebration
The 4th of July is a holiday as old as the United States itself. Unfortunately, many of its traditions are less-than-eco-friendly. Plastic forks, grilling, and fireworks are all Independence Day practices that can be greened up.
Luckily, there are plenty of easy, painless ways to do just that. By making these simple adjustments, your 4th of July celebration can be both patriotic and eco-friendly.
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