With the 4th of July coming up soon in our country many people celebrate with Independence Day cookouts, outdoor parties and picnics. It is also time for social activities during warm months. Fireworks, street festivals and outdoor live music it is a very exciting time of the year, summer! Everyone wants to spend as much time outdoors as possible!
Anywhere there is a party, there is lots of waste. You can smell the charcoal and lighter fluid as people gear up to grill out! Soda cans, alcohol containers, plastic bottles, cups and plates fill the trash cans. No one wants to be burdened with lots of clean up time and so disposable everything comes into play.
Plastic is such a huge issue and one that is an everyday occurrence for some people. Let’s look at the impact that plastic has on the environment. 86% of all ocean debris is plastic. Over 1 million seabirds or mammals die each year from plastic ingestion or entanglement. Bottle caps and plastic objects can be found inside decomposed carcass because they think the plastic is food. (source: www.mindfully.org/plastic/ocean/Trashed )
Every year Americans use enough paper and plastic cups, forks and spoons to circle the equator 300 times. That is a lot of waste! From just American’s alone. Over 7 billion pounds of PVC are thrown away in the U.S. each year. Only 18 million pounds of that, or one quarter of 1 percent, is recycled. Chlorine production for PVC plastic uses almost as much energy as the annual output of eight medium-sized nuclear power plants each year. ( source: http://www.cleanair.org/Waste/wasteFacts.html).
It is important to see that our convenience plays a harsh effect on nature and ultimately ourselves.
How can you Green parties? Here are some of my suggestions:
- Buy biodegradable plastic or bamboo utensils, tableware and beverage containers. Use re-usable utensils tableware and drinking containers from home.
- Use recycled aluminum foil
- Use eco friendly lighter fluid and charcoal or gas grills
- Use glass containers for leftovers or biodegradable re-usable plastic containers
- Use cloth table cloths and napkins or recycled content products
- Recycle / Re-use any paper or cardboard boxes
- Buy local / Organic veggies and sustainable meats
- Buy Green parties supplies or make your own
- Send e-vites for invitations
- Use digital camera
- Make your own homemade ice-cream – everyone loves homemade ice-cream it can be fun!
- Make your own punch from glass bottle juices and beverages. Buy a keg instead of six pack
- If you buy soda’s, buy litter bottles and re-use the plastic when done. Don’t forget to recycle when done
- Use Soy Candles
- Use natural bug repellents ( bug zappers kill even beneficial insects)
- Use rechargeable batteries
- Local entertainment is a great way to support our economy at home and less impact on the environment
- Clean up when you leave the outdoor area! Leave no trace.
- Re-use everything you can
- Use solar lighting for decks, pools and outdoor picnic areas.
- Decorate with natural plants and flowers. Some are also good for insect control!
- Don’t dump toxic liquids in the ground. Dispose of everything properly
- BE aware of fire hazards. Take special care when you are using fire. Be prepared to put out a fire.
- Use steel ice and beverage buckets instead of plastic
- Eat leftovers!
It may not seem like much, but with the amount of plastic produced each year, if everyone takes these steps it can cut the amount of plastic used down and the amount of energy used to produce the plastic down by an amazing amount! Have an Green Party and a Eco fun Summer!