The 4th of July is one of the most popular and celebrated holidays in the U.S. Unfortunately, most 4th of July celebrations are associated with tons of trash, driving associated emissions, and other air pollutants. What better way to pay homage to our country than by minimizing the impact of your 4th of July festivities? Opt for sustainable transportation, make environmentally-conscious food choices, and say no to plastic.
While some traditions should be embraced, others may need to be tweaked so that future generations can enjoy not just this holiday, but this earth, as well. Below are a few suggestions on how you can make your Independence Day more eco-friendly.
1. Sustainable Transportation
- If you’re hosting a party, encourage your friends and neighbors to walk, bike, carpool, or take public transportation to your home
- If you’re traveling out of town, opt for public transportation (like the bus or train)
- If you’re heading to a friend’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
2. Use Only Real Plates, Cups, and Silverware
- This is a great example of where playing a small part comes into place. While this doesn’t sound ideal if you’re having 15 or more friends over, think of all of the waste that would be created if every American broke out the paper plates/plastic cutlery/cups to avoid a sink full of dishes, and choose to make this small sacrifice for our planet
- If this sounds really unappealing, there are many different options for biodegradable or eco-friendly tableware that you can purchase online. Here are just a few of these options:
3. Make Environmentally-Conscious Food Choices
- If you’re hosting this year’s celebration for your friends and family, prepare a delicious, low-impact meal by purchasing organic ingredients from a local store or vendor
- Eating all locally grown food for one year could save the GHG equivalent of driving 1,000 miles
- Organic food typically requires 30-50% less energy during production but requires one-third more hours of human labor compared to typical farming practices
- Add more vegetarian options (or even better, make all of the options vegetarian) to your menu
- Eating just one vegetarian meal one day per week could save the equivalent of driving 1,160 miles.
- Save or compost any leftovers, or send your guests home with them
- If you’re throwing a party, an easy way to reduce waste is to buy a keg instead of multiple cases of beer! For wine lovers, you can apply the same practice by opting for boxed wine
- Similarly, if you’re going to someone else’s home for a barbecue, opt for the vegetarian options
4. Pass on Personal Fireworks
- We get it, fireworks are almost synonymous to 4th of July celebrations, but their potential environmental and health impacts don’t leave much to be celebrated
- The most eco-friendly alternative to fireworks is to forgo explosions altogether — go to a parade, go fishing, grill out, camp out or help out
- If you must see the sky festively illuminated, consider going to a laser light show, which creates dazzling displays of color without launching dangerous chemicals into the air.
- If skipping the fireworks is just unfathomable, choose to observe a community firework show instead of setting off your own
These are just a few ideas for greening your red, white, and blue this 4th of July. We hope that they have inspired you and that you’ll come up with your own ideas for celebrating this fun holiday with the environment in mind.
If you want to live a more sustainable lifestyle on a daily basis, a great place to start is by how you choose to power your home. Visit https://kiwienergy.us/green-e-certified-plans/ to discover how our environmentally-conscious energy and natural gas products can help you play your part for our planet.
We hope that you have a safe, fun, and eco-friendly 4th of July!