Green Ways to Celebrate the Fourth of July

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When it comes to the Fourth of July, Canada Day or any other holiday for that matter, many people have certain traditions they like to involve themselves in from year to year. On the 4th many people like to spend the day hanging out around the barbeque, others head out to the beach or lake for water-based activities, some like to picnic in the park, kids and parents alike often enjoy the adventure of camping, but when it comes to the end of the day most people can be found sitting back to watch a fireworks display. Regardless of what you have planned this Fourth of July, here are a few tips to help you green up your day and make the most of your Fourth of July festivities:

Leave No Trace

One of the most important things you can do, no matter where you go, is to leave no trace that you were ever there in the first place. It is really a very simple action but it can have a big impact on the environment around you. How can you leave no trace? In simple terms…clean up after yourself. For a more involved look at how to leave no trace you can check out these seven principles. One of the best ways to protect the beauty that nature provides is to respect it, treat it with care and leave it the way you found it so others can enjoy its beauty too.

Prepare Food Smart, Eat Smart

It is not uncommon when people get together for picnics, parties and other celebrations that they tend to make more food than is actually needed. Of course you do not want to run out of food, however it is important to prepare smart and eat smart. Find out how many people are coming. Prepare what you think you will need. Use recipes that involve seasonal, local and organic fruits and vegetables. Provide a compost bin, in additional to a recycling bin, so your guests will be encouraged to not waste their food (or utensils) but put them to good use.

As for recipes, here are 35 inspiring recipes for 4th of July and this red wine & blueberry BBQ sauce can help make a great red, white & blue meal. For those of you with a sweet tooth try out these strawberries stuffed with honey-lavender cream cheese.

Promote Sustainability and Discourage Waste

If you think back to your childhood (or maybe even to the last time you went to a picnic in the park) and you will probably remember seeing overflowing trash cans at the end of the day. It is not uncommon to see people opting for disposable products rather than reusable products. To promote sustainability at your Fourth of July celebration and discourage waste try using mason jars for drinks and/or for holding silverware. Bring reusable plates, serving utensils and cloth napkins or better yet, do your picnic potluck style and have everyone bring their own. That way you are sure to have enough and everyone can bring home their own supplies when the picnic is over. Don’t forget to give your guests smart options such as a composting bin for food and a recycling bin for glass bottles, etc. (Hint: With no “trash” bin guests will be forced to compost or recycle.)

Opt for “Green” Red, White and Blue DIY Decorations

Part of celebrating the 4th of July is decorating with red, white and blue decorations. Instead of buying plastic decorations that will be thrown away when your celebration is over, try making your own themed decorations. Here are some 4th of July decoration ideas you can either use yourself or at least use for some inspiration. Remember to incorporate nature into your decoration plans too.

Cut Down on Harmful Emissions

Fireworks shows are going to add a lot of additional, and harmful, pollutants into the air on the 4th of July. Thus it is even more important that you make efforts to cut down on your harmful emissions. Carpool, minimize your idle time, use your GPS, plan ahead, and use a proven fuel additive such as Biofriendly Corporation’s Green Plus® gasoline fuel saver.

Skip the Fireworks

There is no question that fireworks displays have a negative and harmful effect on the environment, not to mention on our personal health. So this year, why don’t you skip the fireworks and opt for something a little more environmentally-friendly? Try something that won’t pollute our rivers and streams, cause toxic pollutants to shower down on our cities and create breathing problems for those we love. Some fun alternatives include attending a concert, watching a laser light show or throwing a little dance party of your own.

Here’s to celebrating independence and making your Fourth of July as green as it is red, white and blue. Have a happy 4th of July!

Image courtesy of Debbie via Flickr Creative Commons

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