Hooray for the red, white and GREEN!

July 2, 2008 at 5:12 pm 1 comment

By Lynn

For many Americans, summer officially begins on the 4th of July with a picnic or barbecue and, of course, fireworks. Here are some reminders to ensure your summer gets off to an eco-friendly start and stays Green, at least until Labor Day!

* Choose a location as close to home as possible for as many of your guests as possible, then encourage them to carpool.
* Because giving back is a part of our definition of living Green, ask guests to bring some canned food that can be donated to a local food bank.
* Use your own dishes, glasses and utensils instead of buying picnicware. But if you must use the disposable kind, choose recycled plastic or items made from bamboo or compostables like corn or sugarcane.
* Purchase organic foods; they’re better for you and the planet.
* Buy as much of your menu as you can locally. If you’re having a potluck, ask guests to do the same. You could even have a little contest with a prize for the most creative dish made from the most locally grown ingredients.
* Set up clearly marked recycling bins for all leftovers. Encourage kids to collect trash and dispose of it properly. If you or someone you know composts, be sure to have a bin to collect appropriate food scraps.
* Most everyone loves the smoky flavor of barbecue, but burning wood or charcoal releases greenhouse gases, carbon monoxide, soot and particulate matter. Gas grills are less harmful to the environment, but run on a non-renewable resource. How about making or purchasing a solar or hybrid oven and add the barbecue flavor with sauces? Directions for making solar grills can be found online and cost almost nothing. Making them could be a fun holiday activity for a crowd.
* If bugs are bugging you, try all-natural bug sprays and traps like those offered by Planet Natural.
* Choose décor that comes from (and can be returned to) nature, such as vases of red, white and blue flowers or edible centerpieces made from red and blue berries.

Fireworks, unfortunately, are an eco-problem. Colorful overhead displays are fueled by a mix of toxic chemicals that fall into the water and onto the land as well as on the people watching. In addition, most fireworks come from China, a source of child labor issues. Maybe next year, you’ll be able to convince your town to replace fireworks with a laser light show, but in the meantime, follow these tips:

* Avoid sitting right under where fireworks are exploding or downwind from them, especially if you have breathing problems. In fact, anyone with chronic lung problems such as asthma should probably watch fireworks from inside.
* Purchase and use ear plugs.
* If residue from fireworks lands on your property, pick up and dispose of it properly.

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A simple celebration to welcome summer Fun in the sun

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. michaelpopovici  |  July 2, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Some great green tips for Independence Day. Thanks!

    Reply

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