4 Easy Ways to Go Green for Your 4th of July Celebration

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By Lori Melton

Fourth of July is just around the corner and so are the Independence Day barbeques and backyard parties. Looking to throw an eco-friendly bash that doesn’t require a ton of time, energy, or planning? Look no further for some easy ways to create a green gathering.

Ditch Disposable Dinnerware

Paper plates and plastic cups and utensils are a popular staple at any party, but people tend to overuse cutlery and dinnerware when they’re disposable, and tossing out all that trash out at the end of the gathering is not great for the environment. Save on waste by using recyclable dinnerware instead of the disposable options. One easy way to do this is to use your own plates, cups, and silverware and wash everything for reuse. It’s a party, after all - there will be plenty of people there to help you clean up!

If you’re having an especially large party and don’t own enough flatware to accommodate all of your guests, opt for biodegradable and compostable disposable plates and cups instead of their paper and plastic counterparts.

Party Outdoors

Beyond creating a natural and fun entertainment space, hosting your gathering outside during daylight hours will help reduce electric usage and save energy. Backyard barbecues are a great place to play outdoor party games cornhole, yard Yahtzee, and croquet. If temperatures are too hot, hold your gathering in the cooler, early evening hours and invite people to stay for the fireworks. Planning on keeping the party going well past dark? Use solar-powered lights to reduce energy costs and usage associated with electric outdoor light fixtures.

Green Up the Grill

It’s the age-old question: charcoal or propane? If you’re aiming to green up your grill, opt for a gas model. They use less energy and produce fewer pollutants than charcoal grills. If you prefer that smoky Southern barbeque flavor charcoal grilling brings to the food, look for “green” charcoal that’s natural and additive-free or natural lump charcoal. Also, remember that lighter fluid produces its own pollutants, so use an electric charcoal starter or a natural combustion substance like fatwood. Overall, electric grills and solar-powered grills are fantastic, eco-friendly options.  

And when it comes to the grub you’re putting on the grill, opt for more veggies than meat to reduce the environmental impact of your Fourth of July fare. If you make too much food, veggies can always be tossed into Tupperware and added to your weeknight meals.

Hydrate Responsibly

Staying hydrated is important at any summer gathering, especially if it is being held outdoors. Bottled water is a popular beverage choice, with U.S. bottled water sales reportedly hitting 12.8 billion gallons in 2016. However, empty plastic water bottles generate a ton of waste. Avoid this problem altogether by offering water in refillable containers such as glass or stainless pitchers or dispensers, which guests can pour into reusable water bottles. Also, remember to make it easy for your guests to recycle any aluminum beer cans or glass bottles by having clearly labeled recycling containers available in a few key locations.