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Have a Green Fourth of July!



Here are some great ideas from HuffPost Green on adding green to the red, white and blue in your July 4th celebration!

The Fourth of July is a much-celebrated holiday in the U.S. It also can be catastrophic to the environment -- the holiday tends to bring with it tons of trash, hazardous fireworks, and polluting cars. While some traditions should be embraced, others may need to be tweaked so that future generations can enjoy both this holiday and this earth, as well. Here are a few tips to make your Independence Day more pleasant for you and the world in which you live.

 It's hard to picture July 4th without fireworks, but many of them are not great for the environment.

As Thomas Klapötke (University of Munich, Germany) told Science Daily, "No other application in the field of chemistry has such a positive association for the general population as fireworks... however, pyrotechnical applications are significant polluters of the environment."

ThinkProgress writes: "As fossil fuel pollution heats the planet, one of the casualties is the traditional celebration of the founding of the United States. The record droughts, floods, and storms fueled by global warming are causing widespread bans on fireworks and the cancellation of numerous municipal firework displays."

While some eco-friendly options are in the works, for now, at least try to go to a group viewing instead of buying your own.

1. Carpool to Fourth of July events with friends.

2. Planning a classic Fourth of July picnic? Instead of using plastic utensils, bring reusable dishes, or at least buy recycled products.

3. Forgo the hot dogs! An estimated 100 billion gallons of water and 70 million gallons of gas would be saved if everyone in the U.S. ate vegetarian for just one day.

4. Planning to grill your holiday meal? Re-think your cooking methods.

According to The New York Times, "We get most lump charcoal from cutting down mesquite trees, and in addition to the deforestation effect, it takes more fuel to produce and transport charcoal than it does propane. As a result, according to a 2009 study in the journal Environmental Impact Assessment Review, propane is nearly three times as efficient as lump charcoal."

They suggest that charcoal briquettes are debatably better in terms of climate change, although alternative forms of cooking are your best bet.

Check out these green grilling tips for some tips on making your meal more eco-friendly.

5. Once you finish eating your holiday meal, don't forget to compost the food! According to the EPA, yard trimmings and food residuals make up 26 percent of U.S. municipal solid waste. Don't have a compost? What better day to start one than on your holiday!

6. Sunscreen is crucial if you're planning a fun day outdoors. But next time you're buying the potentially life-saving product, consider choosing an eco-friendly one.

7. Everyone hopes for nice, warm weather on July 4th weekend. If we're lucky and it is hot, hydration is crucial. But plastic water bottles are not. Instead of contributing to the 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year, opt for a reusable water bottle instead.

8. Instead of purchasing and lugging all of your food in flimsy, wasteful plastic bags, invest a dollar in a reusable bag, or find some great bags here. You'll help the environment but also avoid ripping a bag and spilling all of the contents. Now nothing can ruin your holiday!

Source: HuffPost Green