Sustainable Fourth of July Party

Planning your family’s annual Fourth of July picnic or barbecue? Gathering with family
and friends to celebrate our nation’s independence with barbecue, beer, and fireworks
is an American tradition. Unfortunately, every year Americans throw away enough
plastic and paper in the form of plates, cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300
times. If you’re wanting to make a difference and throw a sustainable Fourth of July party, here are a few tips to reduce, reuse, recycle and make your celebration red, white,
blue…and green.

No need to print paper invitations when you can create a Facebook event or send a
group text. Scrapping traditional invites for digital alternatives can help cut back on the
more than 4 billion trees forested each year for paper products.
Speaking of paper products, why not opt for reusable dishware or environmentally
friendly disposable tableware instead of paper, plastic or Styrofoam. Products made
from renewable materials such as bamboo or sugar cane will biodegrade in compost
piles and landfills.

Hit up your local farmers’ market—or your own garden—for in-season fruits, vegetables,
and local resources for meat, eggs and dairy products. You’ll always find fresher
products and feel great about supporting local small businesses and farmers.
Encourage sustainable practices by keeping convenient and clearly marked receptacles
for recycling and compostable food scraps.

Use aluminum foil to cover and store any leftovers instead of plastic wrap as clean foil
can be tossed into the recycling bin.

When you’re cooking out, choose coals made from invasive tree species or sustainably
managed forests as well as a petroleum-free charcoal starter. Never dispose of coals or
ashes fresh from the barbecue directly into your collection container.

Some communities allow the use of fireworks but keep in mind fireworks spew
gunpowder, heavy metals and accelerants into our air. If you want to improve air quality
and enjoy this Fourth of July tradition, we recommend watching your local fireworks
displays and avoiding a personal show.