The Fourth of July is the perfect opportunity to get outside and unwind as we celebrate our nation’s birthday. Can you think of a better way to honor America and its air, land, wildlife, and oceans than by having an eco-conscious celebration? Here are a few great ways to add some green to your red, white, and blue festivities this 4th of July.

  1. Ditch Disposables–Opt for Reusable and/or Recyclable Utensils, Napkins, Cups and Plates for Your July 4th BBQ

    • If you’re thinking about purchasing a box of plastic spoons, knives, and forks for your summertime gathering, remember it may take over 100 years for them to even begin to break down and over 1,000 to decompose entirely. Instead, opt for a more sustainable cutlery alternative at your 4th of July celebration, such as:
      • Good old-fashioned silverware.
        It’s safe to reuse and the only additional resources required are soap and water in order to clean them after use
      • Biodegradable plates, cups, and cutlery.
        Bambu offers a great line of disposable dinnerware made out of certified organic, renewable bamboo
      • Bioplastic cutlery and cups.
        Bioplastics have become quite a popular eco-friendly option for utensils. There are two types, PLA (polylactic acid) and PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate). One comes from fermented plant starches like corn, cassava, sugarcane, or sugar beets, and the other from microbes which produce a plastic-like chemical from organic materials. BioPak offers a range of compostable products including forks, knives, spoons, sporks, and cutlery sets, all made 100% from a plant-based bioplastic produced from a rapidly renewable starch.
      • Cloth napkins.
        While they may not seem as big a threat to the environment as plastics, paper products also have a significant impact on our planet. In fact, almost 4 billion trees are used for the paper industry worldwide each year. A single paper napkin can cause 10 grams of greenhouse gas emissions and use 0.3 liters of water. Plus, did you know paper napkins can’t be recycled? So rather than contributing to deforestation, opt for using cloth napkins instead.
  2. Purchase Local and Organic Food

    • Did you know that eating all locally grown food for one year could save the GHG equivalent of driving 1,000 miles? Or that organically-grown food generally requires 30-50% less energy during production than traditional farming practices? So, as you stock up for your big Fourth of July barbecue, stay on the lookout for locally-grown and/or organic produce and meats. Buying local ingredients is a great way to reduce your food miles and associated emissions, while also supporting your local economy.
  3. Upgrade Your Outdoor Lighting to Solar Lights

    • Poorly-aimed and unshielded outdoor lights waste 17 billion kilowatt-hours of energy in the U.S. each year, according to the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO). If you plan on celebrating into the night, a great way to avoid impacting your electricity bill is with solar lamps and lanterns.  Solar energy is sustainable, renewable, and plentiful. Solar-powered outdoor lighting uses photocells to convert sunlight into electricity. They don’t require any cables, they’re easy to install and are virtually maintenance-free. Not to mention that operating solar lights won’t cause any greenhouse gas emissions! Check out our blog post on the best solar light paths for your backyard or garden.
  4. Recycle Bottles, Cans, and Paper

    • We get it. Some single-use items may be unavoidable, particularly if your guests bring their own drinks. But that certainly doesn’t mean they all need to end up in the landfill. Along with having a trash can outside, set up a clear and easy-to-distinguish recycling station where your guests can place their recyclables. Remember to rinse out ALL containers prior to putting them out for pick-up.
  5. Opt for or Encourage Sustainable Transportation

    • If you’re hosting this year’s BBQ, encourage your friends and neighbors to walk, bike, carpool, or take public transportation to your home. If you’re heading to someone else’s home, your most eco-friendly option is to walk or bike there, but if that isn’t feasible, you can always also carpool or take public transportation, while practicing safe social distancing, of course.
  6. Compost Food Scraps and Donate Any Leftovers You Don’t Intend on Eating

    • Food waste is a significant problem not only for our country but for the entire world. In fact, one-third of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year. The FDA estimates that 30-40 percent of the American food supply is wasted.
      That’s why we urge you to compost any food scraps from your Fourth of July feast. If you don’t already have a compost pile or bin at home, freeze your food scraps and start one. Many cities across the U.S. also offer composting services and will pick up food scraps from your home.

Enjoy an Eco-Friendly Summertime

It’s summertime, the perfect time to get outside! Reduce your carbon footprint, make memories, and show your patriotism this Fourth of July by following these tips to keep your festivities eco-minded.

Be sure to also check out Kiwi Energy to learn about our innovative electricity and natural gas solutions!