The Fourth of July usually doesn’t conjure up images of being eco-friendly, but there’s nothing that says you can’t strive to be the freest of free — sustainable — on this day celebrating American independence. From celebration to cuisine, we’ve got you covered for an eco-friendly July 4. Remember, keep it red, white, blue and green.
Eco-Friendly July 4th Ideas
Nothing communicates national pride more than your country’s flag. Is this instance, there is actually a way to marry proper flag etiquette with good ol’ fashioned eco-friendly July 4th living. How, you ask? Rather than illuminating your flag after dark (per proper flag guidelines), why not simply take down the flag at night, eliminating the need for powered lighting. This practice can also serve as a daily reminder of all the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. Next up, celebrate those freedoms!
Keep your celebration close by to avoid the carbon emissions that come from traveling a long distance. If you can take public transportation, ride your bike or walk to get to where you’re going, all the better. As an added bonus, staying close to home helps you avoid all that traffic!
Fireworks, grilling, pool parties — almost each and every July 4th celebration takes place outdoors. And with the outdoors comes — you guessed it — bugs. Why not repel those bugs using eco-friendly bug repellent? We’ve got some ideas here:
- 3 Simple DIY Pest Repellent Recipes
- All-Natural Bug Spray Recipes That Actually Get the Job Done
- Bug Off (Naturally)! 7 Nontoxic Pest Control Remedies
No matter where you’re headed, be sure and bring a reusable tote bag or two to transport any goodies you may have brought or accumulated while out.
Hostess with the Leastest
Now if you happen to be hosting a July 4th celebration, why not consider repurposing decorations from other holidays? This eco-friendly practice is worth it year-round. Who says you can only use white Christmas lights in December? Look for other opportunities around your house. Displaying flowers or serving fruits and vegetables from your own garden also helps reduce waste.
Continuing with the hosting theme, here are several other eco-friendly July 4th options to consider when it comes to food:
- Ditch disposable! Use real plates.
- Consider composting any leftover food waste. Several manufacturers now offer compostable food storage bags.
- Consider going meatless. The Sierra Club has many different vegan barbecue recipes.
- The temperature outside may be hot, hot, hot, so help your guests cool down by offering organic popsicles.
Still looking for other ways to create an eco-friendly July 4th? These articles are chock-full of ideas:
- 6 Simple Swaps for a Green 4th of July
- 8 Ways to Green 4th of July
- Fireworks, the Environment and the Fourth
Happy Fourth of July from all of us at Earth911!
Feature image courtesy of Vladimir Stankovic / Shutterstock. This article was originally published on June 23, 2016. It was updated on July 4, 2017.