Green Tips: Eco-friendly 4th of July

Green Tips | June 23, 2022

The 4th of July, one of the most celebrated summer holidays in the United States, is just around the corner. Its celebration comes with many barbecues, firework shows, and family reunions that bring people together from all over the nation. Here are some ways that you can make sure your party is sustainable while still enjoying the holiday to its fullest! 

  • Alternatives to Fireworks:

Laser show 

Carpool to community firework shows 

Of course, the celebratory 4th of July fireworks are a favorite among Americans. Unfortunately, fireworks cause extensive environmental damage once the metal salts and explosives react to trigger the explosion. The smoke and gases that are released into the air after their explosion, add to the greenhouse gases already plaguing our atmosphere. Instead, opt for a laser show or carpool with your neighbors to watch public firework displays. Although the second option is not ideal, it will curb the number of people setting off fireworks for a small number of spectators. 

  • Alternatives to plastic forks and knives:

Reusable cutlery 

Biodegradable cutlery 

To serve the many guests coming over for the 4th of July, hosts often turn to plastic forks, knives, and spoons to get the job done. But plastic utensils take about 200 years to break down after ending up in a landfill. Instead, you can buy reusable cutlery made from bamboo, stainless steel, or other types of metal. There are also biodegradable cutlery options made from plant material that you can replace your plastic utensils with. 

  • Compost leftover food 

One of the biggest challenges that comes with hosting a cookout is estimating the amount of food that is needed. It is estimated that over 100 billion pounds of food goes to waste in the United States per year. This food ends up in a landfill where it releases methane during decomposition, which is one of the most harmful greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Although there are many ways to prevent excessive leftovers by planning out portion sizes, you can also compost them instead. Composting reduces landfill waste and provides a natural alternative to chemical fertilizer for gardens. Here is a step-by-step guide to starting your compost at home! 

  • Alternatives to charcoal:

Organic lump bamboo charcoal 

Coconut shell charcoal 

Grilling with charcoal releases an immense amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is another harmful greenhouse gas. Many charcoal bricks also contain other byproducts like lighter fluid, which makes them release volatile compounds (VOCs) when they burn as well. This further contributes to the greenhouse gas concentrations driving climate change. Instead, you can switch to bamboo or coconut shell charcoal, which do not contribute to deforestation as opposed to grilling with wood. These types of charcoals also burn without releasing harmful chemicals found in normal charcoal.


By Maya Granderson


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