July 01 2016

Tips for a Plastic-Free 4th!

by Melissa Mefford

Gearing up for the 4th of July? This Monday is Independence Day, a day to celebrate and get together with family and friends at bbqs, parties and summer outings. The part that is often overlooked is that someone has to cleanup the after-party. July 5th is one of the busiest days for volunteer cleanup crews at beaches and parks across the country. One of the most common materials found is disposable plastic leftover from the festivities. Here are some simple tips to help reduce your plastic footprint while still having fun in the sun.

  1. Pack In, Pack Out.  Plan ahead and pack reusable items to prevent having to throw out trash or leave anything behind. Make sure litter lands in the designated trash bins or bring it back with you to recycle. 
  2. BBQ.  Everyone loves a good bbq, right? If you’re hosting an event, use the regular plates, utensils and glasses if possible - and have the kids help with the dishes! If you are headed to the beach or park, bring reusable plates and cups. If you must choose disposable, look for a good paper option.
  3. Bags.  Leave the plastic bags at the store. You don't need a dedicated beach bag, most reusable bags will fit your towel, reusable bottle and other essential items.
  4. Cups.  Check out the beach or park on a busy day and you’ll find lots of cups in people's hands. Plastic and foam cups are found left littered across beaches. Invest in some reusable cups or bring your reusable bottle.  In addition to reducing plastic pollution, you could save money in the long run.
  5. Everything else: Avoid the foam coolers and other inexpensive items that you plan to use for a day or less because they will likely break and be discarded. A $5 chair or umbrella is not likely to last beyond the weekend. Check local thrift stores, resale shops and websites like Craigslist for quality items at a good price.

Have a blast this weekend and enjoy your local beach, park or favorite place!