Independence Day is here — are you ready? If you want to celebrate your Fourth the green way by freeing yourself from the shackles of unnecessary waste and energy usage but are low on funds and ideas, check out our five creative tips on how to green your holiday — they’re as easy on your wallet as they are hassle-free!

Two veggie patties on a grill

Substitute veggie dogs and 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

walking symbols on a road

Ask guests to carpool or walk

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: nothing

Five different shaped glasses with beer

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 drinkware home with them!

Cost: nothing

Green and white sign in a window that reads "eco to go"

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.

Smoldering charcoal in a grill

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 an unsustainable source. And if you can use charcoal from the U.S. instead of from abroad, that’s even better!

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

Have a great, green Fourth of July everyone!

Images via Port of San Diego, Depositphotos, David Goehring, Didriks, Michael Mandiberg, and Julian Colton