The Fourth of July tops my list of favorite holidays. It’s right up there with Thanksgiving. It signifies the beginning of summer and is filled with fireworks, parades, and barbecues. To kick off the Fourth of July this year I’m planning to run a Four on the Fourth race again. Hopefully it won’t be 90 degrees and humid like it was last year.
After the race the plan is to relax and hopefully catch up with friends.
If you’re planning celebrate this Fourth of July there are a few simple ways to make it green and eco-friendly.
1. Green your grilling
As delicious as grilling is, research has shown that cancer-causing compounds are formed when meat, poultry or fish are cooked at high heat. Try cooking your food at low temperatures, flip it frequently and don’t leave it on the grill longer than necessary. While grilling your food this Fourth of July make sure to use green accessories to help you create a delicious and safe meal.
2. Non-toxic sunscreen
There are a lot of sunscreens out there, but not all are created equal. Look for sunscreens that are safe and non-toxic. Try to avoid spray sunscreens when you can, or apply them carefully. I try to find a sunscreen that works and doesn’t leave a thick, white film on my skin. Thankfully there are some good nano-free options without the white film. Here are a few tips to get your kids to wear sunscreen.
3. Non-toxic bug repellent
The bugs can be fierce this time of year. DEET bug repellents can be toxic if we apply too much and leave it on our skin too long. Thankfully there are a quite a few bug repellents out there that are DEET-free. There are even plants that can be strategically placed around your yard that act as natural bug repellents. Our DEET-free bug repellent of choice this Fourth of July is Buzzaway.
4. Reusables instead of disposables
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces about 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of garbage a day, or a total of 29 pounds (13 kg) per week and 1,600 pounds (726 kg) a year. That’s a lot of trash. BBQ’s are know for their abundance of paper products and plastic utensils. How about mixing it up a bit this year and adding in a few reusable products in place of those single-use plastic and paper products? Using reusable cloth napkins, stainless steel flatware, reusable plates or even stainless steel straws would be a simple way to make a big impact.
I cringe at the number of bottles and cans tossed into the trash at a barbecue or at the beach. If you are hosting the party take the time to set up a extra bin or two for recyclables. If you’re headed to a BBQ and there’s no recycle container you might just have to carry it home.
6. Head to the Farmers Market
I love seeing farmers markets popping up everywhere. They range from large to small, but they all have one thing in common: farmers selling directly to consumers without a middle man. Head to the farmers’ market for all your Fourth of July produce and meats. Whatever they don’t have you can fill in at the supermarket.
Do you have any green 4th of July tips?