As far as holidays go, Independence Day may not rank as the most eco-sinful, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. Here are a few easy ways to begin getting some green in with your red, white and blue.
Resist the temptation to buy conventional hot dogs and hamburgers for the grill. Opt for organic products from your supermarket, or better yet, seek out local, grass-fed meats from a farmer’s market or food co-op. There are great vegetarian options for the grill as well. Try grilled eggplant burgers, grilled pizza, and rum marinated fruit kabobs.
Skip the Disposables
Nothing says “plastic forks and paper plates” quite like the Fourth of July. Picnics, parades and BBQs go hand in hand with disposables, consuming virgin resources and creating heaps of heartache for our exponentially expanding landfills. Consider these alternatives:
1. Invest in reusable bamboo dinnerware and flatware: Durable and comes from a renewable resource.
2. Create a picnic dinnerware set. Buy used items from a thrift store and have them on hand for outdoor entertaining.
3. Serve finger food, and eat with your hands.
4. Bring indoor napkins outside: Cloth napkins save trees and add ambience.
5. Use bagasse plates made from annually renewable sugarcane. Bagasse plates are biodegradable and will completely compost in 45-60 days.
6 Choose paper over foam: Paper comes from trees, foam comes from petroleum.
Drink Organic Beer
While we may not immediately associate beer with agricultural products, we should. By choosing beer made with organic hops, malt and barley, we are reducing the need for toxic and persistent pesticides that harm the soil and contaminate water. Organic beer is increasingly available at organic and natural food retailers and in mainstream supermarkets with organic and natural food sections.
Choose Healthy Sunscreen
Listen to Green Girl: According to a study by the cosmetic safety database, 86 percent of sunscreens on the market are either ineffective against the sun or raise safety concerns because of their ingredients. Many contain microsized and nano-scale UVA filters with toxic properties, and some contain ingredients that absorb into the blood and may have toxic effects, acting as hormone disruptors, releasing free radicals into the skin, and causing allergic reactions. See what she recommends here.