Independence Day is on the horizon, and with pandemic protocols slowly loosening, many people are going to more or less be celebrating their Fourth of July with friends and family. Whether you’re grilling outside, soaking up the sun by the pool, hitting the beach or just hanging with friends, we have to remember to practice earth-friendly habits and keep this Fourth of July Sustainable. Here are a few easy tips and tricks to keep your Fourth of July red, white, blue — and green!
Millions of Americans are going to fire up the grill this Fourth of July — 60 million people and 150 million hot dogs to be exact — what’s more Fourth of July than grilling hot dogs and hamburgers outside?4 The catch is that this mass grilling will emit 225,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air in a single day just by grilling meats and having fun outside.2
We’re not encouraging you to stop grilling altogether. Even we at Chariot Energy love a good cookout on the Fourth! However, we do encourage you to be more aware of the carbon footprint your grilling activities have and which fuel type you’re using. On average, gas grills emit 33% fewer emissions than their charcoal counterparts.3 Most of the carbon footprint from a charcoal grill comes solely from fuels being burned.
If you are going the cook-out route this fourth, opt for a gas grill over charcoal, as it burns cleaner. If you only have the option of a charcoal grill, try to reuse the charcoal on your next cook-out by immediately extinguishing the coals when you are finished grilling rather than letting them burn out.
Buy Your Food in Bulk
If you are going to plan and prep your meals, but know you are going to be hosting a large number of people, opt for buying in bulk. Buying in bulk helps reduce the amount of packaging needed, thus resulting in more food with less plastic waste you’ll either have to recycle or throw out.
Reducing packaging isn’t the only environmental benefit of buying in bulk. It also decreases the amount of plastic bags needed and minimizes transport pollution to get the food to and from the grocery store. Above all else, buying in bulk gets you the biggest bang for your buck!
Reduce Your Leftovers
Speaking of reducing waste, if you plan on throwing a big bash for the Fourth, plan your meals ahead of time and try to estimate how much food to buy without having too many leftovers. The average American wastes 238 pounds of food per year, factoring into the 76 billion total pounds of food that the United States wastes every year.1 If you’re worried you still might have too much food, encourage your guests to bring their own reusable to-go bins to ensure that no food goes to waste and is thrown in the trash!
Get Creative With Decor
Every year it is tempting to go out and buy festive paper streamers, themed cups and red, white and blue napkins that you’ll only use one time. Instead of going out and buying all-new decorations that you will just throw away at the end of the day, try decorating with items you already have around your house. Here are a few creative decor ideas that you can use this Fourth of July:
- Purchase fresh red, white and blue flowers to decorate with and compost after the party.
- String your white holiday lights around your house and backyard for a festive touch.
- Add some delicious decor by creating a fruit bowl with red strawberries and bright blueberries — all tucked in a white bowl.
Look for any festive colored decor already in your repertoire — you may have a lot more red, white and blue just laying around your house than you think!
Opt Out of Single-Use Dishware
If you already practice sustainable habits, then you know that single-use dishware and cutlery are a BIG no-no for the environment. Don’t diminish from those habits just because it’s a holiday! Instead, bring out your glass and ceramic dishware to serve your hotdogs and hamburgers! Not only will it reduce your overall waste production, but it also gives you a chance to flex on your guests with your beautiful dishware.
Set Out Recycling Bins
In the U.S., we shell out an average of $1.6 billion dollars on food and wine alone to celebrate the Fourth.5 Your guests are more than likely going to be consuming drinks from plastic, glass or aluminum (all of which are recyclable), and are going to need somewhere to dispose of them.
This year, put out designated, clearly marked recycling bins for your guests and encourage them to dispose of not only their recyclable beverage containers but any other paper, plastic or glass utensil in the recycling bin. If you’re unsure how to recycle, check out this blog on things you may be recycling wrong. You can also reuse or repurpose these items, which we show you how to here!
It is necessary for each one of us to practice eco-friendly habits every single day, and a holiday should be no different. If you aren’t hosting your Fourth of July bash this year, encourage whoever is hosting to use a sustainable mindset. Let’s keep America — and the world — clean for this year’s Independence Day!