How to have a greener 4th of July

For those who live in America, the 4th of July is an important holiday. The commemoration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence has traditionally been one of feasting, fireworks, and spending time with friends.

Luckily, you can have a wonderful 4th of July while still being friendlier to the planet. Here are 5 simple changes you can make to have a greener 4th of July.

Go to a public fireworks display

Fireworks are a common practice for 4th of July. Not only is it a jaw-dropping display of beauty for the younger crowd, but the bangs and whistles are meant to symbolize the whistles and bangs of warfare. Unfortunately, even the greenest fireworks are not great for the planet–but you can reduce that impact significantly by going to a public fireworks display.

Public fireworks displays are often better and brighter than anything you can do at home, and has a few other benefits too–namely not terrifying dogs or veterans who may suffer from PTSD.

Reuse your decorations

4th of July, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and many other holidays have the same theme, and the same colors of Red, White and Blue. Instead of throwing them out and getting new decorations every year (or holiday) reuse the ones that you have.

If you don’t have any decorations yet, ask your local Buy Nothing group, or visit your second hand store before buying new. If you can get your decorations this way, you’ll be saving items that might otherwise be thrown away, instead of adding to our problem of too much stuff.

Focus on food waste

Since 4th of July is also associated with barbecuing, there’s often a lot of food. If you’re hosting a party, plan on there being leftovers. Ask your friends and family to bring Tupperware so they can take home some of the food and hopefully not waste it.

Also consider composting left over food scraps instead of throwing them out. While your meat trimmings and dairy can’t go in a compost pile, those corn cobs and watermelon rinds can.

Ditch Disposables

Disposable knives, forks and spoons are convenient, but have a terrible impact on the environment. Try using reusable items during a party instead. If you don’t have enough cups, plates and forks to handle it all, you can often rent the dishes instead–with the added bonus that rental parties wash the dishes too.

For small parties, just ask your guests to leave the dish in a soaking sink so you can tend to them later. You’d be surprised how many people decide to wash their own plate instead of leaving it for you to do later.


Although these tips will reduce a great deal of the environmental impact of the holiday, there’s still the drinks to consider. Many party drinks, such as beer and soda, come in cans or bottles that are single use. When ever possible, choose highly recyclable aluminum cans or glass bottles over the almost impossible to recycle plastic bottles.

Recycle all possible materials after your event, so they can continue to be reused over and over again.

Fourth of July is an important holiday for the USA. If you are celebrating, these simple tips can help you have a greener holiday.

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