Sustainable Summer Series: Fourth of July

Published July 02, 2014

by Heather Doggett, Director of Visitor Programs and Staff Training

This is it! It’s finally your turn to host the 4th of July party. Before you jump right in and start writing your shopping list, loading up on sparklers, and getting your playlist set, take a moment to consider the greener side of this red, white and blue holiday.

More than ever, families are starting new eco-traditions and sharing them with neighbors, friends and family members this Independence Day. 

Here are a few ideas to make your party sparkle:

Wash and Ware

It’s easy to skip the plastic this year and to say “yes” to washable items instead. Afraid that you don’t have enough to go around? Pick up some eco-chic plates, napkins and utensils at the local thrift store! Serving loads of finger foods also cuts down on the amount of tableware that you need.

 Use This Not That 
 Washable Plates Styrofoam Plates 
 Reusable Water Pitcher Plastic Water Bottles 
 Washable Silverware  Disposable Utensils
 Cloth Napkins  Paper Napkins
 Glass/Metal Storage Containers  Plastic Baggies
 Washable Cups  Disposable Cups
 Cloth Tablecloths  Vinyl Tablecloths

Eco Eats

Eat with the locals this year! Choosing locally-grown corn on the cob, berries for cobbler and ice cream from a local dairy farm are great ways to support your community and prevent your food from traveling an average 1,500 miles to get to your plate. Skipping the food-from-far-away means that you’ll have fresher ingredients and far less fossil fuels are burned in transport.

Go Fish! 

You have the power to help fish and the oceans that we all depend on with simple decisions – at the supermarket fish counter. Using the Seafood Watch app on your phone, you can quickly find out which fish are safe, healthy and not in danger of being overfished. By choosing the right seafood this holiday, you are helping protect the remaining 15% of the world's fisheries that are not fished to capacity, or overfished. 

Grass is Greener

This is a cool, eco-friendly way to welcome your guests to the party without any cheap plastic decorations! Make a small, medium and large star stencil out of recycled cardboard, spritz your grass or sidewalk with water and place your stencil on the ground. Next, gently sift baking flour onto the stencil. After removing the stencil, you’ll be the star of the block!

Have any favorite tips for throwing an eco-friendly summer party? Share them with us in the comments section! 

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Heather Doggett

Director of Visitor Programs and Staff Training

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