Blog - Independence Day

This Thursday, our country will record it’s 237th year since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Americans everywhere celebrate the historic occasion with large scaled firework displays, parades, and cookouts. We look forward to it every year – it’s the American way, right? But as fun as these celebrations are, they also create a negative impact on our environment. I’m not telling you to stay home and sulk this 4th of July, but there are solutions to be more eco-conscious at your Independence Day party.

Barbecue by the Numbers

• More than 81 million people reported taking part in a barbecue last year (Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States).
• As the biggest hot dog day of the year, 155 million will be consumed, equaling enough hot dogs to stretch from Los Angeles to Washington, DC over five times (Source: Ibid).
• Independence Day is the biggest beer-selling holiday of the year in the U.S., with sales topping nearly 70 million cases each year (Source: Ibid).
• 42.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Independence Day, up 5% from the previous year (Source:AAA).

Headed to a barbecue? According to the ULS Report, if each family reduced holiday gasoline consumption by one gallon (about 20 miles) we’d reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one million tons. If you’re going to a neighborhood party – walk – if you need to drive, carpool. (With a designated driver of course!)

Choose to reuse this holiday weekend. Pack food in reusable containers and bags. Have designated bins marked “cans and bottles” to encourage recycling. Don’t throw away leftovers: save them for workweek lunches or give some to your guests to bring home.

The excess of discard of disposable serving items is one of the largest environmental factors. Do you know how much it cost to collect your trash? We spend about 40 billion dollars annually for waste disposal in the U.S. alone. Save money by throwing away less. Of course, some food will be wasted, but that does not compare to the amount of cookout supplies that fill up the garbage. Plus, nobody enjoys the cleanup of scattered, partially full plastic cups. Try leaving permanent markets around the party so guests can properly label their cups, or tag them with the best nickname you can come up with. This small effort can reduce summer garbage amounts considerably.

To help protect the planet, there are a number of tips you can follow this holiday weekend. Be sure to make recycling a clear and easy option for your cookout guests. Make your invitations personal. Call your friends and family to tell them about your party, or send an e-invite; save the paper of sending a card. Don’t forget to buy recycled products: paper towels, plastic cups, utensils, and plates. Be safe this holiday, and Happy Birthday America!

Other Fourth of July Facts

• The Continental Congress formed the Declaration of Independence when the members met on June 7th 1776. The document was completed and voted unanimously on July 2nd, 1776. So, technically our nation’s birth is July 2nd, not July 4th.
• According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 3.6 million dollars’ worth of U.S. flags are shipped from China every year.
• The American Pyrotechnics Associations (APA) estimates that more than 14,000 fireworks displays light up the U.S. skies each 4th of July.
• According to the APA, nearly $650 million in revenue was generated last year in the consumer fireworks industry; an additional $318 million was generated by the display fireworks industry.
• Fireworks professionals plan about 11 months for 1 month of booming business.

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