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July 2, 2012

Add a Little Green to Your Red, White, & Blue

We've all got our favorite ways to celebrate the 4th of July. Most often, they include big backyard BBQs with friends, family, and neighbors, lively games of croquet or bean-bag toss, and let's not forget the time-honored ritual of lining the driveway with lawn chairs at dusk and hosting the best fireworks display on the street. Nothing says the 4th like overeating, friendly competition, and lighting stuff on fire. 

A holiday filled with food and fire can often come at a hefty environmental cost, but thanks Earth911's 8 Ways to a Green 4th of July, we can add a little green to our red, white, and blue. 

1. Ditch the disposable party ware - paper and plastic plates, cups, and utensils sure are easy, but they pile up in our landfills; use regular tableware that can be washed and reused or ask guests to bring their own tableware (we do this every time we get together with our neighbors!)

2. Get outside - let Mother Nature provide your lighting and air conditioning

3. Grill with propane - the never-ending debate between charcoal vs. propane will, in fact, never end, but a recent environmental impact study determined that propane "is dramatically more efficient that charcoal in its production and considerably more efficient in cooking"

4. Save and reuse your decorations - take time to store your festive streamers, party favors and table toppers for next year

5. Opt for greener fireworks - buy nitrogen-rich spark and noise emitters if you're setting off your own show; otherwise, walk or bike together to your local fireworks display

6. Gather in groups - popular holidays like the 4th are synonymous with big groups, but the bigger the party, the smaller the energy output; plus, more people equals more help buying and supplying the food

7. Use large water containers - sure, plastic water bottles are convenient, but urge your party goers to bring their own reusable water bottles or cups instead, and set out large containers of water and other favorite beverages

8. Don't forget to recycle - be sure to put out a clearly marked recycling bin for your guests, and compost paper plates if used

Unless you're a charcoal grillmaster, these eight tips ought to be extremely easy to follow for a fun-filled and earth-friendly 4th of July. We at USEE wish you a happy and safe holiday! Keep that garden hose handy.



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