Fourth of July is such an iconic holiday. Fireworks stands out on every corner, red white and blue everything and barbecues. It’s a chance to bond with family and friends over food, music and fireworks. But just because it’s a day celebrating red, white and blue doesn’t mean you can’t add a a little green as well. 😉 Here are 5 tips for a greener Forth of July.
Fresh, Local Food
What’s the Fourth of July without food? Try hitting up the local farmers market to choose bright fruits and veggies to serve. By choosing food that hasn’t traveled thousands of miles to you, you can lessen your carbon impact on the earth. Great summer choices are strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, and corn. Another yummy option is to make your own veggie burgers; there are some great recipes on pinterest. Don’t have time to make your own? Beyond Meat Beast Burgers are delicious – and huge!
Disposable plates and utensils end up in landfills; opt to use reusable dishes instead. Worried about bringing your breakable plates outside? Camping dishes work great for this, or if you’re in the market for new dishes anyways, you can get some sturdy wood plates (like these Acacia ones on Amazon – affiliate) which are much hardier than ceramic or glass.. Can’t part ways with the idea of disposable plates? Bamboo or straw fiber plates are able to be broken down much easier, and are a much better choice than plastic. Bamboo plates are available on Amazon (affiliate link).
Water play is a great way to keep cool during the summer, but make sure not to be to wasteful. Use squirt guns or swimming pools instead of sprinklers and hoses to conserve water waste. Instead of a slip n’ slide which constantly has water flowing, try making a DIY water blob. The Clumsy Crafter has a great tutorial on water blobs). Turn off the water between balloons while you fill up water balloons. Even better? Try Live Randomly Simple’s tutorial for water sponge bombs which can be dried out and reused over and over again. Any leftover water from the prep or play can be used to water plants.
Plastic banners and paper cups look cute for one day, but often end up in a landfill the day after; only to have the process repeated the year after that. When possible reuse last year’s decorations, or some save trees and DIY your own decorations with things you already have. Mason jars are an easy way to serve drinks, and can be spruced up in countless ways. Try cutting star shapes out of fruit and placing on skewers on a vase. These are a tasty treat and a cute decoration. Get creative and get your kids involved. Have a lot of toilet paper tubes hanging around? Try your hand at some 4th of July Rockets. For more ideas, WooHome has a great list of 25 Simple DIY 4th of July Crafts.
Limit Firework Use
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but fireworks are not good for humans, animals or the environment. Did you know the in the United States, more companion animals go missing and get hurt than any other day of the year? Animals will go to great lengths to run away from the sounds, sights and smells – including hurting themselves. Dogs and cats escape from their leash or jump out windows. Many are hit by cars or directly injured by the fireworks themselves. At the very least, please keep your pet indoors away from all the stimulus. Fireworks are also terrible for the environment and human health. Many of the chemicals contained in fireworks are known human carcinogens, including antimony, barium and percholates. When fireworks are set off it creates a chemical reaction – and these toxic chemicals enter the air that we breath. Improper cleanup can also cause waste to be left on the ground or in waterways, and most fireworks are produced by child labor in other countries. Luckily, greener fireworks are in development, although they are much more expensive, making them cost prohibitive for most consumers. The best fireworks display, is no display at all, but if you must have your fireworks, consider combining with some neighbors. 20 people watching 1 display is better than 20 people watching 5 displays.
Buy American Made
What better way to show your support for the USA than to buy American made (and tto help ensure your clothing is ethically and responsibly made)? When shopping for a new festive outfit, try hitting up your locally-owned thrift store to keep the money in your community, or shop American made. ModCloth has a great list of clothing made in the USA (affiliate), and American Adorn exclusively sells baby and children’s clothing made in the United States.
What are your plans for the Fourth of July?