The Fourth of July—it’s America’s birthday, and for millions of Americans it means celebrating freedom with friends, family, and of course, fireworks. This time of year we are reminded of living in the “land that we love,” but what many Americans don’t realize is how much we harm the land when we use disposable products and consume excessive amounts of meat and energy. This year, consider adapting your family traditions and impress your friends by going green with these 5 tips and continue celebrating for generations to come.
- Lose the plastics
Few things are worse for the environment than single-use plastics and convenient Styrofoam utensils. Once these products are used, they end up in a landfill where they leach chemicals into the groundwater, or are disposed of through incineration and are released into the air we breath. It’s easy and impactful to switch to biodegradable plates, cups and cutlery for the weekend, or better yet, use your regular kitchen utensils and fill the dishwasher after! If every family did this, imagine the amount of garbage that would be kept from our filling landfills.
- Buy local and organic food
Support American farmers by stopping by your local farmer’s market to pick up your Independence Day grub. Or if you want to go the extra mile, go meatless for the day! Many 4th of July traditions involve backyard barbecues, but the global meat industry has devastating impacts on our planet. Ditch the pork chops and steaks and consider some delicious vegetarian grilling recipes instead. Bring the family together by creating dishes that are good for your health and the planet.
- Switch to wind and solar lights
Many Fourth of July celebrations end with the viewing of fireworks in the night sky. Add some ambience to your party by using solar lamps and lanterns while reducing your energy footprint and saving your energy bill. Party all day with them charging in the sun, then relax in the intimate lighting as the firework show gets started.
- Pick up your waste and remember the three R’s
REDUCE the amount of materials you purchase (by opting for kegs instead of cans or bottles), REUSE decorations from last year, and RECYCLE all that you can. Have your party guests help you pick up stray cans, bottles, streamers, plates, and forks—or impress your host by showing you care for your community and the environment and help pick up their place. Leave your firework viewing location cleaner than it was when you got there.
- Use public transportation
Caring for the environment while getting around? Easy! Using public transportation or riding your bike is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. Show off to your friends and family that you understand bus routes and encourage them to join you to make it a part of the celebration.
This Fourth of July, remember these tips to keep our country clean, sustainable, and free of environmental damage for years to come. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday!