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Jennifer Grayson

Jennifer Grayson

Posted: July 1, 2010 08:21 AM

Send all your eco-inquiries to Jennifer Grayson at Questions may be edited for length and clarity.

Any tips for throwing an eco-friendly Fourth of July party? I'm not expecting a tofu and sprouts crowd, so please make your suggestions realistic.


I've always believed that caring about the environment is patriotic. We're blessed to live in a magnificently beautiful country, and it's in all of our best interests to keep it that way. So what better time to bring that point home than your annual Fourth of July celebration?

This year, the holiday seems particularly poignant: With the oil spill in the Gulf, the United States ironically finds itself, once again, struggling against the authority of the British (British Petroleum, that is). But we're also grappling with the bigger picture issue here, which is the need to free ourselves -- dare I say, declare independence from -- our devastating addiction to oil and other fossil fuels.

All of a sudden, a hot dog and a sparkler don't seem like enough of a statement.

Don't get me wrong: I enjoy a backyard barbecue as much as the next veggie burger-loving American, and I'm not saying you should turn your July 4th fest into some sort of oil spill sit-in, but the least we can do is make sure our celebrating doesn't leave the country -- not to mention the planet -- worse for the wear.

And who knows? Maybe adding a bit of groovy green to your ol' red, white, and blue bash will inspire your not-so-eco friends and family to do the same in the future. Five ideas:

Ditch the Disposables
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Just say no to petroleum-based, landfill-bound plastic cups, plates, and utensils and serve the vittles at your party like a gracious green gentleman -- using real, old-fashioned plates, silverware, and glassware. You don't have to buy anything worthy of a wedding registry, either: Pick up a few different inexpensive sets off Craigslist or at your local thrift store, and the mismatched look will lend a cool vintage vibe to your party. Can't bear the thought of washing all those dishes? Check out biodegradable and compostable picnic ware made from potatoes and corn.
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