6 Tips to Make Your 4th of July Greener

fireworks2By Genevieve Bohnak, The University of Akron Intern


Tomorrow we celebrate our nation’s 238th anniversary of our independence. As we start to the celebrate the summer’s biggest holiday, review these 6 tips below that will help keep your red, white, and blue holiday a little more green.


 1. Grill Green

It wouldn’t be a Fourth of July celebration without barbecues and backyard parties. To help reduce your grill’s carbon footprint this Independence Day, make sure to grill with propane – it burns the cleanest, which causes less smoke. It can also help to keep a fire going longer, which is obviously a classic grilling goal. Propane tanks can be returned and refilled whereas charcoal is thrown away. If charcoal is your only option, use a charcoal chimney started instead of lighter fluid.


2. Think Local

Every 4th of July, Americans consume 150 million hotdogs, 700 million pounds of chicken and 150 million pounds of pork and beef. Your average meal travels around 1,500 miles before it reaches your plate, producing a whole lot of CO2 emissions that could be reduced by buying local. This holiday consider using locally grown organic food. Farmers markets are a great local alternative than shopping at the grocery store as it reduces carbon footprints and chemicals used in processed foods.


3. Dine differently

Plastic plates, cups, and utensils are convenient for large gathering but not for our environment. This holiday consider using your own dishes, glasses, and silverware that can be washed and reuse to reduce the waste that goes along with disposable dinnerware. If you do opt for disposable dishware, choose products made from compostable materials. Plates made from all paper can easily be composted at home or in a commercial facility. You can also clean them up (they’re often washable) and use them at your next big gathering. Make sure you recycle the plastics that are not reusable anymore.


4. Fireworks

Fireworks are hardly environmentally friendly but it’s a traditional event for the holiday. To help make this tradition more eco-friendly, gather your friends and visit your local firework display. It’s a great way to see a much bigger fireworks show and prevents you from harming the environment with your own personal display. For those who do want to put on their own display, use fireworks that are rich in nitrogen. They may be a bit more expensive but they put out less smoke. An even better firework display alternative would be to use biodegradable floating lanterns.


Lock 3 in downtown Akron puts on their own display of fireworks on the 4th of July. The show starts at 9:45 p.m. but come out earlier to enjoy the beautiful music of The Akron Symphony Orchestra perform their 4th of July Pop Concert of American Classics. The pops concert begins at 4 p.m. Both of these events havee free admission!


Click the link to find 4th of July firework shows in Ohio: http://northeastohiofamilyfun.com/4th-of-july-events-in-northeast-ohio/ 


 5. Save and Reuse Party Decorations

Most of the holiday décor for the 4th of July haven’t changed over the years. Instead of disposing your decorations, this year store and save your decorations for next year! Not only does it reduce unneeded waste but it also saves your wallet from having to purchases decorations for the next year!


6. Use Large Water Containers

Plastic water bottles are just as convenient as disposable dinnerware for large parties. However, they too can add to large amounts of waste. Instead of supplying your guest with water bottles this holiday, store water in a large container that guest can re-fill their reusable cup or reusable water bottle. If you must use plastic water bottles, be sure to encourage your guests to recycle them.


As we engage in all types of different events to celebrate this glorious holiday, keep in mind these tips so that we and future generations can continue to celebrate this traditional holiday for the next 238 years.



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