The 4th of July is about all things red, white, and blue. But this year, let’s make it green, too.
Between the parades, picnics, and the fireworks, there’s no shortage to celebrating America’s independence. However, when the fireworks stop and the festivities come to an end, it’s the environment that’s left battling all the major repercussions.
Independence Day and July 5th consistently have some of the worst air quality of the year. In fact, fireworks introduce 42 percent more pollutants into the air, and some of the toxins never fully decompose or disintegrate. When paired with the heavy traffic, single-use plastics, and large amounts of waste, there are many detrimental impacts this day brings.
So what can you do to help the Earth breathe a little easier? We rounded up some simple swaps that will help you have a more sustainable 4th of July party, all without having to sacrifice any of the fun.
5 Tips For a Sustainable 4th of July Party
1. Use Reusable Dishware
If you can’t reuse it, refuse it. Start by replacing single-use plastics with reusable dishware. If you’re celebrating with guests, remind them to bring their own dishware to serve food in. If reusable dishes aren’t an option, then use biodegradable and compostable tableware made from renewable resources. It’s such an easy swap to minimize your plastic use.
2. Grill Green With Planet-Friendly Recipes
Hot dogs and burgers are traditionally part of the menu, but consider throwing some plant-based alternatives on the grill at this year’s 4th of July party. By adding more vegetarian items to the menu, you can drastically cut the CO2 emissions from your food.
But, if you don’t feel like it’s the Fourth without any meat (no shame!), you can keep it on the menu in a more sustainable way by choosing an ethical option with a lower environmental impact.
3. Use Decorations You Already Have
Instead of buying new decorations, use what you already have. Cut flowers from your garden, decorate a table with red, white, and blue using strawberries, blueberries, and jicama (as shown above!), or get out your white Christmas lights to add to your aesthetic. If you do purchase decorations, remember to save everything you buy for next year.
4. Attend Community Fireworks
Instead of putting on your own fireworks show at your 4th of July party, reduce your environmental impact by having your group enjoy your local community’s display instead. You’ll still get all the excitement from an event that’s already taking place, opposed to adding additional pollutants into the air.
5. Minimize Food Waste
It’s easy to get carried away and buy way too much food for your 4th of July party. Before hitting the grocery store, check your fridge and pantry to see if you can use what you already have. If you’re having guests over, confirm the exact number of attendees so you can plan accordingly. Also, coordinate who’s bringing what so there aren’t duplicate dishes.
Lastly, plan to have leftovers. Remind guests to bring reusable tupperware so they can enjoy the delicious food in the days following the celebration. But, if all else fails, compost any remaining food scraps. Mother nature will thank you for it!
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