How to Have a Red, White & GREEN 4th of July

This month you are probably gearing up for patriotic activities to celebrate Independence Day on July 4th.  Not only is the 4th of July one of the biggest holidays of the year, but between the single-use plastics and traffic jams, it’s also a day with a major negative impact on the environment.  At Infinite Disposal, we see this holiday as a huge opportunity to make some small, but meaningful changes to your holiday celebration that will help our community and environment overall.

Ditch the Plastics

Our founding fathers would be appalled by all the things we throw away today. Do our ancestors honor by saying no to disposable partyware.  If there is anything worse than plastic plates, it just might be their Styrofoam counterparts.  One of the easiest things you can do to go green is to reach for biodegradable plates, cups, and cutlery when you’re shopping for your 4th of July soirée.  They are just about the same price — give or take a few cents — and the overall impact is quite significant.  Many big chain stores are now carrying biodegradable products, and you can also find what you need on Amazon.

Other conscious options to replace plastic or Styrofoam include:

  • Using your own dinnerware
  • Use paper or bamboo straws
  • If you must use plastic cups, check the bottoms of them for the “recycle” seal to make sure they can go in your recycle bin without contaminating other recyclables.
  • Marking your cups.  Bring a market to put names on individual cups so each person uses only one cup for the entirety of the day.  You will be amazed at how much this will decrease your waste at the end of the night.

Green Fireworks

Did you know that the US experiences the highest yearly amount of particulate matter air pollution on the 4th of July (NOAA)?  Fireworks get their brilliant colors from heavy metals and toxic chemicals.  The residue from fireworks gets into our groundwater, while the debris ultimately makes its way out to the ocean.

But many believe that a 4th of July without fireworks would just be, well, unAmerican.  If you cannot live without those dazzling bursts, try to keep your display on the green side:

  • Look for eco-friendly, nitrogen-rich fireworks that produce less environment-harming smoke.
  • Take your party to see the local fireworks displays, instead of shooting off your own.
  • For backyard displays, light off your fireworks in the same spot. Dip them into water immediately afterward to prevent forest fires.
  • Make sure all of your fireworks debris is property cleaned up.

Bottles and Cans

It seems unimaginable to have a barbecue without cans or bottles.  It seems like they always go hand in hand.  Beer, soda, water, and wine are all commonly found at big summer parties.  In general, people at parties will consume 2 drinks in the first hour and 1 an hour after that.  Multiply that by the number of guests and you’ve got a mountain of cans and bottles to deal with at the end of the party.  Avoid all that disposable waste by switching to large beverage containers instead of six-packs.

Here are some other great tips for eliminating drink container waste this year:

  • Fill beverage dispensers with ice water to keep guests hydrated instead of water bottles.
  • Make lemonade, punch, and tea in large batches.
  • Order kegs instead of buying cases of beer.
  • Have guests bring their favorite drinking receptacle from home with them to your party.

Do a thorough job of cleanup.

After this Fourth of July, there are bound to be plenty of stray cans, bottles, streamers, plates, and forks littering streets and parks.  Do yourself, your community, and the environment a favor by picking up all the leftover traces of your party and properly dispose of them, recycling all that you can. It is an obvious tip, but it does not hurt repeating.