Red, White and GREEN – 7 Tips to an Earth-Friendly Independence Day

The Fourth of July is a great time to get some sun, have a little fun and forget about the daily grind as we celebrate our nation’s birthday. But just because it’s an excuse to party hardy, we shouldn’t forget that keeping things green and protecting our environment over the holiday is just as important as making the perfect apple pie or lighting up the barbecue. With this in mind, here are seven ways you can add a little bit of green to your patriotic party and still have plenty of fun – read on!

Tip 1: Ditch the Plastics

Disposable plates/utensils/cups may be convenient for you, but not Mama Earth. You could have a ‘bring your own plate/cup’ theme where the most unusual/fun, different categories of plates could win a prize. You could even have a dish/cup swap. You start with one, but go home with something completely different. If you must, reach for biodegradable plates, try these bamboo products by Bambu when you’re out shopping for your soirée this week.

Tip 2: Buy Local and Organic Food

Who wants to worry about pesticides on this day of patriotism? We recommend steering clear of foods produced on factory farms — instead look for locally-grown and/or organic produce and meats for you grill. Buying locally is a great way to better educate yourself on what you’re putting into your mouth and it supports your local economy. And if you’re looking to reduce your environmental impact even further by going all-veggie, there are some delish animal-free selections out there, including the classic veggie burger and tofu-pups. These tasty vegetarian dishes avoid the pitfalls of industrial meat production, which contributes to much of the world’s water use, emissions, land use and oil consumption.

Tip 3: Grill Green

With over 60 million barbecues lighting up this Fourth of July, choosing the right grill and grilling accessories can do a lot to help the earth breathe easier. There are a variety of sustainably produced charcoal briquettes out there – including Wicked Good Charcoal, which is made from industrial scrap wood. Propane is also another good option as it produces close to half the emissions of generic charcoals. If you’re looking to save space in your backyard, try out Black+Blum’s Hot-Pot BBQ, which is cleverly disguised as a planter!

Tip 4: Make Your Own Healthy Sweet Treats

Did someone say POPSICLES? Sure store-bought cakes and pie are an age-old favorite, but they’re also laden with refined sugars and fat. So say poo poo the pie and whip up some fabulous popsicles instead! Homemade ice pops are the perfect way to cool down and to satiate a sweet tooth. You can prep and stock up on the pops in the freezer the day before your party, or for those on the go try a cooler filled with these frozen treats. One nifty design that caught our eye recently is the Zoku Quick Pop, which whips up popsicles in just under 7 minutes!

Tip 5: Switch on the Solar Light

If you plan on partying into the night, a great way to add some ambiance without impacting your electricity bill is with solar lamps and lanterns. Just set them out in the sun for the day and when dusk falls, voila – you’ve got yourself the perfect setting for an impromptu dance party or a romantic Independence night with your loved one.

Tip 6: Go for Green Fireworks

It’s hardly a Fourth of July without fireworks. Fireworks however don’t fare well when it comes to their green cred, but thankfully there are some companies out these putting out some alternatives that sparkle just as bright! Some sweet options we’ve seen include perchlorate-free fireworks and Chris Burton’s Sky Orbs. These colorful lamps can be lit to light up the night, but are also made from biodegradable and environmentally safe materials.

Tip 7: Pick up your waste and RECYCLE!

After this Fourth of July there are bound to be plenty of stray cans, bottles, streamers, plates, and forks littering streets and parks. Do yourself, your community, and the environment a favor by picking up all the leftover traces of your party and properly dispose of them, recycling all that you can. It’s an obvious tip, but it doesn’t hurt repeating.

[via Inhabitat]