Although the 4th of July is a wonderful time to celebrate our freedom with friends and family, with all the cups, utensils and fireworks we end up using, it's also one of our most wasteful holidays! So this year, why not take advantage of our 6 ideas that will help you green-up your festivities without sacrificing an ounce of fun. In fact, it might surprise you to find that following our tips could actually increase the fun quotient while sparing the planet at the same time.
Summer veggies, Shutterstock
1. Go Meatless for the Day
Nothing says 4th of July like a backyard barbecue but the global meat industry has put a terrible strain on the planet. So this year, why not ditch the pork chops and steaks and consider some delicious vegetarian grilling recipes instead. Although ditching the meat might seem akin to sacrilege, there are so many more creative dishes available that are good for your health and the planet.
Biodegradable packaging, Shutterstock
2. Use Real Plates
When you have 15 guests coming around, it’s so easy to break out the paper plates to avoid a sink full of dishes, but imagine the waste if every American went this route. This year, if washing your own dishes in a water-saving dishwasher doesn’t sound appealing, it is now possible to purchase biodegradable packaging that won’t clog up the land fill.
Portland public transportation, Shutterstock
3. Use Public Transportation
So, if you live out in the middle of Iowa, taking a bus or train to your friend’s house might not be possible for you. But most city dwellers certainly do have this option. Using public transportation or even cycling instead of driving your own car has more than one benefit: not only will you reduce your carbon footprint for the day, but you won’t have to drive home after drinking a pile of beer! Which brings us to our next point…
Wooden kegs, Shutterstock
4. Buy Kegs Instead of Cans and Bottles
Don’t take this the wrong way: Inhabitat isn’t endorsing national drunkenness but we are realistic. People have the day off, they’re hanging out with their favorite people, beer will be had. So, instead of buying a stack of cans and bottles that use up a lot of unnecessary materials, consider purchasing a keg instead. This is cheaper, usually, and you’ll have zero waste – especially if you use your own mugs or compostable Ingeo corn cups.
5. Cool Down with a Batch of Delicious Organic Popsicles
If drinking beer isn’t your thing or you’re celebrating the holiday with a handful of screaming young children, consider following our recipe for 30 kinds of delicious organic popsicles. They’re so easy to make and contain none of the junk that store-bought popsicles do, and you won’t produce any waste as a byproduct of enjoying one of our favorite summer treats.
6. Enjoy a Sundowner with Wind and Solar-Powered Lights
Sunset is probably our favorite part of 4th of July. Not that we’re excited for the day to end, but the temperature simmers down at last, and the sky fills up with the colors of so many exciting fireworks. Make the ambience last and reduce your energy footprint by using these wonderful wind and solar lights instead of turning on your regular lights. They’re easy to find at Ikea and they’ll impress the daylights out of your friends and family! Have a happy and green 4th of July!
image credit: 4th of July fireworks, Shutterstock