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Eco-Friendly 4th of July: Ways to Avoid Waste

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Jul. 2 2019, Published 5:18 a.m. ET

While the Fourth of July is a time to celebrate, we should not leave environmental consciousness to the wayside. The Fourth often calls for numerous types of environmental hazards, from fireworks to single use cutlery. While it may seem unavoidable, there are alternatives you can try to make your Fourth of July more eco-friendly. Here are ways you can be more environmentally conscious and friendly this Thursday:

Avoid personal fireworks:

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Fireworks, seemingly quintessential, are very bad for air quality and the environment. A study conducted by the EPA showed that the amount of fine particulate matter in the air jumped 42 percent on the holiday. This matter, which contains toxins, colorants, and propellant chemicals, inevitably ends up in soil and waters sources.

While community-wide fireworks can be hard to avoid or stop, definitely stray away from adding the pollution. You can, however, speak to your local authority whose in charge to ask them to switch to more environmentally friendly fireworks (they do exist!). In the meantime, it’s best to avoid buying personal fireworks and pyrotechnics. 

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Eco-friendly, single use cutlery:

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The best part of the Fourth of July is celebrating with friends and family, but most often BBQs are hotbeds for plastic, single use cutlery. While it is fun and festive to have colored cutlery for the occasion, those red, white, and blue single use forks, spoons, and knives will end up in the ocean or in a landfill. 

There are a few options for avoiding plastic cutlery for your BBQ. One option, and probably the least wasteful, is just using normal silverware that you already have in your house. However, this involves a lot of elbow grease for the person who ends up cleaning all of it. If washing dishes is a task you wish to avoid, try buying eco-friendly, biodegradable cutlery. Though they may not have the festive color, you can always decorate the container you put them out in or tie them all together with ribbons. 

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Drinks/Drink Containers:

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If you plan on serving some beverages, make sure to be eco-friendly about it. Mark your trash cans so that guests know where they can put glass and metal canisters.

Definitely do not buy solo cups either. They create so much plastic waste, and are pretty much unnecessary. Mason jars can be bought in bulk, and are extremely affordable. Plus, you can always reuse them for future BBQs. And of course, make sure to avoid plastic straws. There are so many cute, festive options for paper straws that are way less harmful for the environment.  

Eco-friendly Bug Spray:

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Bug spray is a must for any summer party, but most bug repellents is terrible for the environment and your body. There are a few alternative options for keeping those pesky mosquitoes out of your party. 

You can use citronella candles or sprays. Not only does it repel bugs, it also has a very fresh scent. However, some do believe that citronella isn’t as effective as products like Raid. In that case, you can always try to use an eco-friendly alternative to those products, or even try out those bug repellent bracelets.

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