Green is not just the color of money, it is the color of social-responsibility

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Red White and "Green" , an Eco-Friendly 4th of July

 With July 4th just around the corner what better time to get this message out to everyone that caring about the environment is patriotic.

Independence Day, one of the highlights of the summer in the United States, brings to mind flags, parades, fireworks, and of course barbeques.

The 4th of July BBQ is a time-honored tradition, one that in addition to food, fun and fireworks can have negative impacts on the environment.

Fortunately, there many things we can do to help minimize these environmental impacts, while still honoring our nation’s independence.

Here are some tips for greening your 4th of July BBQ, or any other outdoor gathering.

1. Bring a cup: Many of us break out plastic and paper cups at BBQ's to cut down on cleanup and ensure there are enough cups for all the guests. Instead of relying on one-time-use materials that end up taking up space in landfills,  – have your guests bring their favorite cup to use for the duration of the party. You cut down on waste, and everyone knows which cup belongs to them.

2. Buy local: You can have a more environmentally friendly barbeque simply by buying locally-grown foods. In addition to supporting the local economy, you avoid contributing to the carbon emissions that are generated by trucks, trains, and boats that bring food from far-off places.

3. Living decorations: If you like to display flowers on the tables at your events, consider using live, potted plants instead. When the party is over, you can keep the plants at home, and they in turn help the planet by filtering carbon dioxide and producing oxygen for us to breathe.

4. Use recycled paper products: Let’s face it, paper plates and napkins are a lot easier to use for an outdoor event. However, we can still be green by looking for plates made from recycled paper products. In addition to reducing the amount of waste in landfills, recycled products typically take a lot less energy to produce than new products.

5. Encourage volunteerism: Since everyone’s outside enjoying the day anyway, why not do something that will make you feel better about yourself. Encourage your friends and family to spend part of your time together volunteering. For example, get together with your friends and neighbors to clean up a local park or other area – a little light work on a hot summer’s day makes the burgers and beer taste that much better!

6. Buy in bulk: When stocking up for your BBQ bash, consider buying items in bulk if possible. Things like large boxes of utensils and large bottles of soda actually use less packaging materials than smaller, individually packaged items.

7. Don’t sweat it: There’s no need to bake your guests or spend money and energy cramming people into an air-conditioned house. Try scheduling your BBQ for a cooler, more comfortable time of day such as dusk.

8. Carpooling isn’t just for work: If you have a lot of people coming, encourage them to carpool when possible. It’s especially easy for guests that live near each other to share a ride and save gas and emissions in the process.

Using Eco-friendly Forest Stewardship Council certified charcoals means that no trees in endangered woodlands are cut to produce the charcoal for your 4th of July BBQ.  It also means that fewer greenhouse gases  are emitted when your charcoal burns and that no unhealthy additives are released into the air or onto your food during your Fourth of July grilling.

Look for brands of charcoal that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Cowboy Charcoal, a natural lump charcoal,  is FSC certified. 
Cowboy Charcoal produces a cleaner-tasting food with out a petroleum after taste. It also produces fewer ashes so clean up is easier too.

Don't Forget:  If you're serving bottled or canned beverages, be sure to put out clearly marked recycling bins.

So use these Eco-Friendly Fourth of July ideas to make your red, white and blue cook out a little greener.

Join The Green Club



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