While we are celebrating America’s independence who says we cannot celebrate America’s birthday with a touch of green! I do not mean incorporating St. Patrick’s Day and going around pinching people who do not wear green. You can do that if you want to but I highly recommend waiting until March. What I mean to say is why not celebrate America’s independence by being eco-conscious! I don’t want to sound like the “misperceived nagging” Lorax, but it is true, we can incorporate green living on this festive day.
Listed below are some tips for celebrating a fun, litter-free, eco-friendly day with family and friends:
1. Green Grilling
Grilling isn’t very eco-friendly. By grilling you are releasing tons of smoke into the air. According to Greenzer, it is estimated that Americans using their grills on Independence Day will equal out to burning about 2,300 acres of forest. No need to feel sad just yet, there is a better and greener way to grill! Note that natural gas barbeques are better in terms of energy. Propane produces half the emissions of charcoal. Make sure you recycle or reuse your propane tank once it is empty. You can also buy organic or natural charcoal lumps in lieu of traditional ones.
2. Pass on Plastics
If you cannot use the reusable plates, cloth bags, cutlery or napkins (i.e. fabric napkins) choose biodegradable, recycled or unbleached dishware. The greener disposables and reusable plates are not only better for the environment but provide aesthetic benefits as well. They sure look better than the Styrofoam option.
Ditch the water bottles and pack water in reusable stainless steel beverage containers. If you still decide to buy bottled water, remember to locate the nearest recycling location instead of throwing them in the trash.
3. Healthier 4th of July Menu
When you are deciding your menu try to keep the processed food to a minimum. Not only will there be less harsh chemicals going into the ground, processed food is extremely unhealthy for you. Although it may be easier to plan, you do not get the same nutritional value. Instead, try to stack up on protein-rich hummus, whole-wheat crackers, organic cherry tomatoes, apples, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower flowerets, etc. Basically, taste the rainbow when it comes to fruits and veggies! If you are afraid of the higher cost often associated with organic and locally grown food, I suggest organizing a pot luck-style feast where everyone brings an eco-friendly dish.
If you plan on barbequing some American classics (Duh!) buy organic, free-range meat and poultry. The killing is more humane and often better tasting. For those that will stay clear from red meat, such as myself, enjoying eco-friendly, hearty, black bean burgers with flavorful spices are always a good choice.
Happy 4th of July!
Remember to clean up after yourself and follow the three R’s we learned as kids: recycle, reduce, reuse!