In this guide, we list potential ways to have a more sustainable 4th Of July/Independence Day.
These tips and ideas cover different aspects of the day, such as supplies, barbecuing and grilling, food, fireworks, and more.
Several of the tips and ideas listed are similar to tips and ideas we’ve listed for other major celebrations, with New Year’s Eve being one example.
Some tips may be more practical than others, so, select the tips that are most practical for you.
1. Consider The Type Of Celebration You Have
There’s different ways to celebrate the 4th Of July.
Some people celebrate at home, some have a picnic, some watch a sporting event, some go to a parade (or another public event), some go camping or hiking, and, there’s also a range of other things to do.
Some celebrations are much less resource intensive than others.
Consuming less and/or getting outdoors (going riding, hiking or camping for example) might be some of the types of activities that are more sustainable than others.
2. Reduce The Use Of Single Use & Disposable Items Where Possible
There’s a range of single use and disposable items that can be used on 4th Of July, which obviously results in waste.
Examples include plastic cups, plastic cutlery, plastic plates, plastic food packaging, paper towels, and more.
Instead, try to use reusable items (such as reusable and washable cups, cutlery, plates, cloth hand towels, and food containers)
Reusable and washable equipment may also be used in the kitchen when baking, cooking or preparing food for the day.
3. Consider Using Less Sparklers, Or Find Alternatives
Sparklers are commonly used on July 4th.
Not using an excessive amount of sparklers might be one way to be more sustainably.
Another way might be finding alternatives, such as reusable LED light devices, fibre optic wands, or even candles.
4. Consider The Sustainable Use Of Supplies & Decorations
A more sustainable approach to the use of supplies and decorations for the day might be:
– Consider DIY supplies or decorations where practical to do so
– Source new supplies secondhand
– Rent supplies where possible, so they can be returned and re-used
– Source new supplies from suppliers that offer eco friendly options
– Reuse your own supplies year on year where possible (such as flags, hats, and other American themed or colored supplies)
– Try to resell or donate whatever supplies you can’t or don’t want to use
5. Consider More Sustainable Costumes & Outfits
Some people dress up in costumes, or buy outfits specifically for the day.
More sustainable approaches to doing this might involve:
– Borrowing from friends or family
– Buying secondhand or pre-used where possible
– Renting where possible
– Trying to sell or donate your outfit or costumes where possible after the day, so someone else can use it another year
6. Consider More Sustainable Ways To Barbecue Or Grill
Some reports indicate that using charcoal for grilling or cooking might be one of the least sustainable or eco friendly fuels for BBQs or grills.
Gas may burn cleaner in some ways than charcoal.
Electricity from a clean energy source might be cleaner than them both for a BBQ or grill.
7. Consider The Type Of Food You Eat On The Day
People should obviously eat what is safe and healthy for them to eat.
But, a more sustainable way to eat on the 4th Of July might be:
– Substituting potentially more resource intensive meats with potentially less resource intensive meats (such as potentially substituting some beef with some poultry)
– Reducing total meat intake by substituting it with potentially more sustainable foods, such as some types of plant based foods
Sourcing food from local suppliers may also be more sustainable than sourcing food that has had to be transported or shipped longer distances.
*Note – consult a health professional before making any changes to the foods you consume. This is general information only. It is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice.
8. Reduce Or Eliminate Food Waste
Two ways to do this might be:
– Prepare only what you know will get eaten
– Bring reusable food containers to collect and store any leftover food to eat later
9. Consider The Potential Impact Of Fireworks
Several reports online outline how 4th Of July fireworks are responsible for a certain amount of emissions, and how fireworks in general can release other air pollutants.
Reducing your use of private fireworks (and instead watching public firework displays), and considering how more eco friendly fireworks might be utilized on this day might be some options to make the use of fireworks more sustainable.
10. Dispose Of Waste Properly After Celebrations Are Over
Especially if you host celebrations at your home, there will be waste leftover.
Make sure to properly sort waste into the right bins.
General waste should go into the general waste bin, and recyclables like beverage bottles and cans should go into the recycling bin.
1. Various ‘Better Meets Reality’ guides