Earth-Friendly July 4th Celebration Tips

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For many Americans, the 4th of July is a major summer highlight. However, some aspects of our celebratory picnics and BBQ parties can be less than planet-friendly. This year, let’s incorporate some green into that red, white and blue with these simple tips:

Green your menu

Buy party fare at the farmer’s market and support your local economy. Many fresh air markets offer everything from fruits and veggies, to eggs, cheese, seafood, meats, bread, cookies, pies and more. Think colorful salads, coleslaw, grilled veggies, fruit & cheese plates, deviled eggs, garlic bread, corn, sandwich fixings, a variety of healthy, lean protein for the grill, etc. Encourage guests to bring items without plastic or Styrofoam packaging. If you serve wine and beer, buy from local vintners/breweries. You may make some great new discoveries!

Re-think party ware

Most disposable party ware takes a major planetary toll─especially with vast numbers of people celebrating on the 4th. Here are two green solutions for dishware/cutlery. One is biodegradable disposables. For good, inexpensive options, visit: http://www.greenpartysupply.com Or you can opt for non-disposables. Buy a light-weight set or start a collection with friends/family. If each U.S. household replaced one 40-count package of conventional paper plates with 100% recycled ones, we could save nearly 490,000 trees!

Drink eco-smart

When it comes to beverages, think outside the bottle/juice box. Instead, go with 5-gallon coolers so guests can refill their own containers. What a great, waste-free way to serve up water, lemonade, and iced tea! You can also bring reusable gallon jugs filled with various drinks and ice on the side. Another festive option is a light-weight punch bowl for lemonade, sparkling juice, sangria, etc. Beer lovers in your midst? Swap all those individual bottles for a pony keg. Better quality beer and eco-friendly to boot!

Go for planet-friendly grilling

Americans love to BBQ, but some grilling methods create pollution. You can reduce your “BBQ footprint,” however. Your best bet is a gas grill, since charcoal grills and lighter fluid emit volatile organic compounds─VOC’s─which contribute to CO2 formation. Gas grills produce only 50% as much CO2 as charcoal grills. Above all, avoid quick-start charcoals that have been soaked in toxic, petro-based lighter fluids. If you must have charcoal flavor, look for sustainably-farmed coals or chips certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Adjusting your celebration in these small ways has a larger impact than you may realize─especially when others follow the great example you set. Happy celebrating!

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