Eco-Independence

fireworks

As you revel in 4th of July festivities this weekend, think twice about how eco-friendly your actions are. Keeping your daily habits in check when it comes to organic, sustainable and green will let others see you walk the talk this Independence Day.

(Especially those family members who think you’ve gone overboard with all your eco-efforts. Why let them catch you doing something wrong now?)

Here are some easy tips to keep in mind:

Toxic Fireworks?

Too late now but maybe next year, ask your local selectman if they can investigate a greener fireworks display. Fireworks use a nasty oxidizer called potassium perchlorate that provides the oxygen fireworks need to burn. Perchlorate, however, is an environmental pollutant with potential adverse effects on people and wildlife.

Fireworks in the backyard? Put them away and enjoy the big fireworks display with the rest of your town or city.

Buy Local

There are so many organic farms springing up all over you’re bound to have one nearby you. I’m lucky to live on a place like Cape Cod this weekend with lots of fresh seafood as well as veggies. Support your local farmers and fisherman by purchasing all locally grown and harvested foods for your 4th of July party or picnic.

Many of the same farms have beautiful flowers as well for decorating tables; nature’s décor at it’s best.
Doesn’t it feel good to know where your food comes from?

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Drinking and eating are all par for the course but make sure if the party you’ve gone to doesn’t have recycling you take your own home. Who cares if they see you? Let them feel ashamed that they couldn’t provide the easiest thing possible: A box for recycling.

Conversely, if having your own party, set up bins that are clearly marked where people can recycle bottles, cans, chipboard and whatever else you deem applicable.

Grilling

I’m not sure what the estimated poundage of hamburgers, chicken and hot dogs being grilled this weekend is but I bet it’s a lot. Consider buying all organic meats to support well, your sort of sustainable habit. You can always go for the Tofu Pups and meatless burgers for the veggie friends. Maybe you’ll even convert great Uncle John.

Tableware

Don’t be lazy. I know it’s easy to just grab the cheap pack of Styrofoam or paper plates but consider alternatives if you have the option. Many supermarkets and green stores offer biodegradable plates, cups and utensils made from corn and potato starch that actually compost themselves in the trash bag. Bamboo veneerware is another option, though pricier.

If you’re not wanting to throw so much away, ask people to bring their own plates, cups and utensils. Give small plants to those who remember and get back-up tableware for those who forget.

Decorations

Use nature to decorate. How many things can you find that are red, white and blue? Vibrant red strawberries, juicy blueberries, homemade whipped cream, geraniums and well, the possibilities are endless. Get creative!

Let the kids help, too, using cardboard and scrap paper and a bunch of crayons and see how patriotic they can be. Don’t let the big box stores dictate what your house is supposed to look like. You’re more creative than that!

Bug Spray

You’re sitting on a blanket wrapped tightly with the kids when you hear them approaching your ears and dive-bombing your eyes. They’ve found you – a whining posse of mosquitoes. Before you spray, pay attention to what you’re wearing. Studies have shown those pesky blood suckers like darker clothing better than light. And by now you’ve heard the dangers of DEET so opt for DEET-free sprays.

Mosquitoes are also not fans of wind so if possible, deck the family out in fan hats and rotate your heads clockwise and back as much as possible. (Now that was a joke).

Happy 4th!

Image: James Jordan

Amy DuFault

Amy DuFault is a conscious lifestyle writer, consultant and fashion instigator. She resides in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.