How Green Will Your July 4th Be?

For a holiday that is celebrated mostly outdoors by most Americans, the Fourth of July is far from a green holiday. Thinking about what fireworks put into the air can put a bit of a damper on enjoying their beauty. And of course most barbecues aren’t so good in that area either.

That doesn’t mean you have to give up for the day. It just means you have to think a little.

We’ll start with the food. Lots of fun stuff here, and yes, my husband plans on barbecuing. Some things he has no interest in giving up. But if we can cut back on the meat, it will be a healthier meal. You can also pick more sustainable types of charcoal for your barbecue or use propane.

I’m hoping that some of the produce in our garden will be ready; I haven’t checked yet. But our tomatoes have been producing and a friend gave us some zucchini and yellow squash. Garden produce, when available, makes a great addition anytime. We’ll also have plenty of fruit, as we got plums from my inlaws’ tree and a neighbor gave us apricots. Lots of local and in season produce, mmm!

It’s hard to avoid soda cans, juice boxes and bottled drinks if you’re having company over. But you can make good choices with these. Think about which can be recycled most easily. Juice boxes as a rule are very challenging to recycle, although some do get made into bags, such as the Basura bag at But if you’re not recycling, reusing them or finding out out to give them to someone who will make bags, they’re going in the landfill. And very few places recycle juice boxes.

Speaking of which, do you have your reusable dishes yet for having people over? Paper or plastic plates may be easy to get, but they’re wasteful. Not wanting to take breakable dishes outside is reasonable, especially if you’ll be away from home, but that doesn’t have to mean disposable.

If you’re going to a fireworks show, try for one near to where you’re doing the rest of your celebration, and carpool where possible. Carpooling can also make parking a lot easier… fewer spaces to seek out to keep your party together. Plan ahead so that you sit as little as possible in traffic; pretty much any fireworks celebration is going to generate a traffic jam.

This is one of the few times I don’t know that I’d suggest riding a bike there. Lots of traffic, after dark, and people who have been drinking all day. This time a car makes more sense to me.

What else can you think of?

2 replies on “How Green Will Your July 4th Be?”

  1. Kisha says:

    So far there is only one thing that we are driving to, everything else is close by. We might not be BBQ-ing since my little one is sick but it would have been veggies more then anything for us.

  2. JEANNE says:

    I bought plastic plates from the dollar store for a summer barbeque with the intention of keeping and reusing them, only to discover later that people had thrown them out!! Oops. They were the thin, 6 for a dollar type and may have been intended to be disposable, but I bought them because they were washable. Evidently they weren’t the smartest purchase 😉 Next time I’ll spend more on nicer plastic plates…lol

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