Celebrate Your Eco-Independence

 Independence Day is just around the corner, which means it’s time to celebrate your eco-independence as well! Here are a few summer eco-tips to help you incorporate green into your celebration of the red, white and blue:

  • Choose Eco-Friendly Picnic Ware—If you plan on having a BBQ or get-together, skip the disposable plates and silverware this year and opt for the reusable kind.  Check out picnic ware made from bamboo, the sustainable alternative to plastic.  If you are hosting a large party and just don’t think you can provide enough reusable ware to go around, buy biodegradable plates, cups, and silverware because they’re made from corn starch and will decompose within a couple of months after being thrown away.
  • Green Your Grill—Natural gas grills are the most energy-efficient, but if you own a charcoal grill you can buy organic or natural lump coal.  They emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions and burn just as well as regular coal.  Once you are done, be sure to dispose of your ashes properly.  Charcoal ash can be toxic to plants and animals, so be sure to collect it all and place it in the garbage.
  • Enjoy the Outdoors—Hosting an indoor party often means your A/C will be working overtime. Reduce the amount of electricity you use this 4th of July by holding your celebration outdoors.  Set up your get-together in the backyard, out by the pool, or at a local park, and take advantage of any outdoor festivals or events being hosted by your city. If you are going somewhere close-by, ride your bike. Remember the less time you commute by car, the better it is for the environment. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
  • Recycle—Keep up your recycling habits during the holiday.  It may seem easier to just throw away all those aluminum cans and bottles, but taking an extra second to recycle them will make a big difference.   Set up a recycling bin outside for guests if you plan on serving canned or bottled drinks at your home, and bring a small canvas or mesh bag with you to hold your empty drink containers when you attend festivities away from home where recycling bins may not be available.
  • Ease Up on the Fireworks –Independence Day never seems complete without the fireworks, but these spectacular shows can send large amounts of pollutants into the atmosphere.  Instead of lighting your own sparklers or firecrackers at home this year, attend a nearby show.  Ride your bike rather than drive to the event to save a few pounds of CO2 emissions.  Provide noisemakers, flashlights, or shiny party favors for your kids as a fun alternative to sparklers.
  • Save (and Reuse) Your Decorations - Reuse your decorations year after year! So after the party’s over this year, take the time to store and save your decorations. You or someone else that you know can use them again next year, which helps to save on a bit of unneeded trash.
  • Green Your Menu - For barbecue lovers, there’s nothing better and more nostalgic than grilling your favorite foods outside on Fourth of July. But, instead of heading to your traditional meat and veggie aisles, consider using locally grown organic food this holiday. This can help the environment by reducing chemicals used in processed foods and the transportation costs that usually come with shipping non-local food products.

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