This Fourth of July, remember to keep Mother Nature in mind while you go patriotic. Here are some tips on how to mix a little green into your red, white and blue.
1. Dump the disposables
Disposable plates, cups and utensils are convenient for parties with a lot of guests. Sadly, they’re not so friendly to the environment. Avoid this scenario by using regular tableware that can be washed and reused. If you must go the disposable route, clean them (they’re often washable) and use them again.
IDEA: Instead of plastic or Styrofoam cups, make your party a “BYOG” (Bring Your Own Glass).
2. Move it outside
The best way to reduce your use of electricity is to move the party outdoors. Enjoy natural lighting, the ambient temperature, and an environmentally neutral setting.
Host your barbecue at midday when the light is best. Or avoid searing temperatures altogether and take advantage of the cooler evening weather. Either way let’s you enjoy nature and reduce the energy costs of using indoor facilities.
3. Grill with propane
The debate between charcoal and propane is longstanding: Which yields more flavor? Which is cheaper? Faster? And most importantly, which is more eco-friendly?
According to a recent study by Environment Impact Assessment Review: “the overwhelming factors show that as a fuel, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) is dramatically more efficient than charcoal in its production and considerably more efficient in cooking.”
The two grilling methods were defined by their overall footprint, with charcoal using 998 kg of CO2, almost three times more than propane, which weighed in at 349 kg.
4. Recycle your decorations
The great thing about Independence Day decorations is that every year the theme is red, white and blue. Which means that nobody can tell if you’re using last year’s (or the year before’s) streamers, bunting, table-coverings and other trimmings.
So, this year, after the party’s over, save your decorations. You or someone you know can use them again next year, which helps lessen the load on landfills.
5. Earth-friendly fireworks
The best way to enjoy fireworks with minimal environmental impact is to go see your local public fireworks display. You’ll see a much bigger fireworks show and release no greenhouse gasses than if you were to purchase and display your own.
6. Gather in groups
The larger the group you gather (preferably outdoors), the less energy used compared with individual parties that take place indoors. Plus, more people helping prepare and purchase food reduce the cost to each individual.
7. Use large water containers
Individual serving sized plastic water bottles are convenient, but they can add up fast and last forever. Instead, use large insulated containers to serve water and other beverages. (If you must use plastic water bottles, be sure to encourage your guests to recycle them.)
8. Make it easy to recycle
One of the easiest ways to go green is to recycle your waste. So be sure to put out clearly marked bins at your party: 1) plastic cups, bottles, utensils, 2) aluminum cans, 3) glass bottles, 4) other waste (items with food residue).
This year, let’s all make environmental responsibility an important part of being patriotic. If it’s good for Mother Nature, it’s good for our country! Happy 4th of July to you and your family!