Today we have Jakob Barry as our Guest Blogger!
Despite the yummy hot dogs, meat, drinks, and desserts it could be said that of all the national holidays Independence Day takes the cake for the most waste and least wholesome food. The block parties and family get-togethers are great fun but within all the gatherings for the red white and blue it seems like there could be a little more “Green.”
In the spirit of being healthier and making the festivities more eco-friendly here’s a few ideas to consider when planning your 4th of July weekend.
1. The lawn: A lot of activities take place in people’s yards so for the sake of both adults and children come up with alternative landscaping maintenance plans so family and guest aren’t exposed to harmful substances. Use a manual or reel mower that won’t leave noxious fumes or drip fluids. Also, don’t spray or drop poisonous powder on the grass to kill weeds.
2. Reusable utensils: Don’t plan to use disposable plastic-ware that isn’t biodegradable. If the neighborhood is getting together for a barbecue have all the neighbors bring their own forks, knives, spoons, cups and plates. After all, everyone has them in their homes and can you imagine how this would cut down on the amount of trash! At the very least purchase reusable plastics that can be stored away for other occasions.
3. Recycling stations: Even if everyone brings their own cutlery there may still be some materials to recycle. This is a great opportunity to teach the neighborhood a few lessons on how to be better about reusing and recycling by making stations for plastic and paper and posting information on how to do it at home.
4. Compost: Next to recycling composting is an important component that aids the environment and if more people tried it, their gardens would be that much more robust and less waste would go to the landfill. Set up stations with information on what can be composted and what can’t.
5. Block the sun, make shade: Sometimes outside heat can be intolerable and celebrations move into air-conditioned homes. To make the fun more bearable outside set up a tent using a large tarp or series of tarps over the hangout area. In the end the party can be livelier because it’s outside and the host will save on energy costs.
6. Drinks: In place of the many varieties of sugar drinks provide healthier options such as punches made from real fruit, soda water with natural flavorings, or juice making stations. Even the regular bland beer can be replaced with a tastier better choice for the body.
7. Food: Instead of putting out unhealthy snacks like artificially flavored candy, chips, and other munchies try serving cut up vegetables with various dips or salads made from pastas and grains like rice, barley, and quinoa. Desserts can be fruit and homemade cakes and pies.
8. Fire: Part of being careful with making camp or barbecue fires isn’t only containing them but preventing certain things from going into them. Only burn natural materials such as wood, tree bark, and some brush while keeping away other things such as plastics, which will create harmful fumes.
9. Transportation: With all the concerts and fireworks displays going on try to use public transportation wherever possible as it will contribute less pollution. This is especially true for more rural or beach areas that many people will be accessing over the holiday, as the less traffic the less effect it will have on those environments.
10. Natural bug repellent: When the evening sun approaches and the barbecues fade into the night the pesky mosquitoes will be out having their own feast. Try and use natural repellent such as citronella, essential oils, or simply taking leaves from mint, lavender, or rosemary and rubbing them on the skin. In most cases it will protect from these pests and relieve you from having to use dangerous chemicals.
Jakob Barry writes for Networx.com, a growing community of homeowners and contractors getting the most from their resources by sharing and monitoring home improvement projects. He covers various home improvement topics including Green living and eco-friendly grounds maintenance.