uncle sam wants you to have a green 4th of july, green independence day, eco-friendly july 4th, sustainable july fourth, green celebration, green bbq, green party, tofu pup, garden burgerImage credit: modified photo from Giolou’s Flickr photostream

Substitute Tofu Pups and Garden Burgers for hot dogs and hamburgers

Raising livestock uses an incredible amount of energy and releases tons of methane into the air. This year, try serving soy dogs and burgers instead of meat – they’re better for the environment and for your health. And a lot of times, people can’t even tell the difference!

Cost: $3-4 a box on average

uncle sam wants you to have a green 4th of july, green independence day, eco-friendly july 4th, sustainable july fourth, green celebration, green bbq, green party, no air conditioning

Turn off the AC

If your BBQ is going on outdoors, why not turn off (or at least turn down) your air conditioner inside? You’ll save energy and $$ and it’ll give people a reason to stay outside where the action is.

Cost: negative (you’ll actually save money)

uncle sam wants you to have a green 4th of july, green independence day, eco-friendly july 4th, sustainable july fourth, green celebration, green bbq, green party, car poolImage via PaulEisenberg’s Flickr photostream

Ask guests to carpool or walk to your BBQ

With people trying to save money, this one shouldn’t be too difficult at all. Plus, if you remind imbibers that the less cars there are, the less (responsible) drivers are needed, they’ll have yet another reason to carpool or walk.

Cost: $Zilch

uncle sam wants you to have a green 4th of july, green independence day, eco-friendly july 4th, sustainable july fourth, green celebration, green bbq, green party

Have a “Bring Your Own Cup” party

Plastic cups are one of the most wasteful parts of having a summer bash. Asking guests to bring their own cups means that no one will forget which cup is theirs, and you won’t need to clean up after them because they just take their dirty drinkingware home with them!

Cost: $Nada

uncle sam wants you to have a green 4th of july, green independence day, eco-friendly july 4th, sustainable july fourth, green celebration, green bbq, green party

Ask caterers to make it “Eco to go”

If you’re planning on ordering out for your party, use this simple phrase to tell restaurants that you would like minimal packaging, condiments and utensils. They might not know what you mean at first, but the more people use it, the more vendors will know what it means and that they should get with the program.

<h3>Buy your charcoal from sustainably managed forests</h3> <p> Not all charcoal is created equal. Check for the <a href="http://www.fscus.org/">Forest Stewardship Council</a> (FSC) logo on the bag you buy to make sure it isn't from a rain forest or other unsustainable source. And if you can use charcoal from the US instead of Asia or abroad, that's even better! <p> <b>Cost: Surprisingly, FSC certified and US sourced charcoal isn't too much more expensive than the alternative.</b>

Buy your charcoal from sustainably managed forests

Not all charcoal is created equal. Check for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo on the bag you buy to make sure it isn’t from a rain forest or other unsustainable source. And if you can use charcoal from the US instead of Asia or abroad, that’s even better!

Cost: Surprisingly, FSC certified and US sourced charcoal isn’t too much more expensive than the alternative.

Have a Great Green Fourth of July Everyone!