Eco-Tip of the Week: Fourth of July Celebrations

In honor of summer’s biggest holiday, let’s all make some Independence Day declarations to help protect our health and the environment we share.   Small lifestyle changes (like living less wastefully and avoiding toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products) are a great way to start.  Making conscientious choices can be an immediate contribution to a cleaner, healthier life for our families, our communities, and our country.

With the long days and warm weather, we’re all moved to celebrate the sunshine with friends and family.  But these celebrations often involve plastic cups, paper plates, disposable water bottles, cans, long drives, etc.

Does the pursuit of happiness have to involve so much energy and waste?

Let’s all make some personal declarations of independence–whether it’s independence from plastic products, wasteful disposables, or pesticide-laden foods.  These are great ways to infuse real patriotism into your Fourth of July.

Here are a few suggestions for reclaiming this important holiday from all the powerful companies that want us to think waste and mindless consumption are patriotic:

1. Skip Plastic Containers: Plastic is nearly impossible to avoid today.  But with a little commitment, it’s not difficult to avoid single-use, disposable plastic items.  If you’re bringing your famous potato salad to this year’s party or barbecue, bring it in glass tupperware.  Even better:  bring your snacks in a ceramic or glass bowl from home.  They’ll look nicer too.

2. Celebrate Outdoors: Take advantage of the sunny summer weather and enjoy your party outdoors.  This will reduce the energy costs of using indoor facilities and let you soak up the summer sun.


3. Use Filtered Water: There is no need to buy or use plastic water bottles.  Tap water in many areas is just as clean and safe, and if you still need purer water, just use a water filter and serve the water in glasses or compostable cups.


4. Eat Local, Organic Foods, and Go Easy on the Meat: We’ve mentioned the importance of local, organic foods in previous posts.  Not only is it healthier for you, its also healthier for the environment.  Easing up on meat products is also great for reducing the environmental impact of your holiday picnic.  So why not mix in some veggies with that meat—they’re great on the grill and add variety of flavor.

5. Check the Garbage Can at the End of the Day: Even if you’ve set up a recycling bin and compost, looking at how full the garbage can is will give you a feel of just how much waste you’ve produced from this one picnic.  Being aware of this can help you cut your waste down even more at the next party.