Celebrate Independence Day the Low-Impact Way


Low impact independence dayThe Fourth of July is coming! Do your plans include red, white and blue one-time tableware and decorations?  What about fireworks and bonfires? All of that adds up to a lot of waste and a large environmental impact! Now, that is not too patriotic.

Our forefathers fought to give future generations a better place to live. So, celebrate their hard work with a low-impact Fourth of July. Read on to find out how to organize an eco-friendly Independence Day.


iStock_000016736321LargeWhen Betsy Ross was stitching the first American flag, she wasn’t using plastic or nylon to create Old Glory. Take a tip from her and go for the oldies to lower your impact on the environment:

  • Hang cloth flags and find reusable decorative items around the house to show your American pride.
  • Build your community by having a decoration swap with your friends.
  • Use metal or tin signs – they are great to use year after year.
  • DIY any of these green 4th of July crafts.


Before you break out the throw-away foil containers, paper plates and napkins, and plastic cups, forks and knives (that’s a lot of waste!), consider reusable dishes and flatware. If on July 5, everyone spends a few more minutes washing up instead of throwing away, our country just may end up reducing the size of its carbon footprint and having a lower impact on the environment.


low impact Watermelon Slice Popsicles

Before you fire up the grill this Independence Day, think about the impact of your food. Food production creates up to a quarter of all human-made CO2e emissions. Click here to find out how you can lower your food’s impact by up to 60%.

  • To prepare a tasty and low-impact meal, use the ingredients from local, organic sources. By going local, you can reduce the CO2e emissions of your food by about 7%.
  • Load up on seasonal foods before the Fourth – your farmer’s market is the perfect place for that. Buying in-season fruits and veggies will cut out another 10%. Plus, you will help American small businesses – how patriotic is that!
  • By adding more vegetarian items to the menu, you will cut the CO2e emissions of your food up to a half. We love these delicious low-impact foods which you can prepare for a picnic – and it’s free of meat products.

Grill it up

bigstock-Friends-On-A-Barbecue-92792060Most people would say that it isn’t really the Fourth unless there’s a grill involved. But that doesn’t mean you have to let smoky, greenhouse gas-emitting grills distract from your get-together.

  • For low-impact grilling, consider a solar grill. Those fancy parabolic innovations look so futuristic and they are already helping fight climate change in developing countries.
  • Another way to reduce your environmental impact is to use an Electrical grill. They release 91% less CO2 emissions than their charcoal brothers. And if you use solar power the electricity you use for grilling is 100% clean and free of emissions!!
  • If you must cook over an open flame, consider a hybrid or a natural gas grill. Natural gas is one of the cleaner fossil fuels, with a lower carbon footprint than propane. See the lower environmental impact of your gas-based grill in numbers with our This vs. That post!


bigstock-Fireworks-25057403-[Converted]Fireworks became almost synonymous with Fourth of July celebration. Unfortunately, traditional fireworks  contain harmful chemicals that create a negative impact on our all parts of our environment. It is estimated that a display of fireworks 10 minutes long produces approximately 2.1 metric tons of CO2e and has the same effect on climate as driving 4971 miles in a passenger car. In U.S., the annual environmental impact of fireworks is greater than that of annual emissions from 12,000 cars! So, if you do decide to have fireworks, consider offsetting the carbon footprint of your experience.





Consider these alternatives to fireworks:

  • Go to a music laser show. New prototypes of lasers, which can work from a regular 110v outlet, don’t create as much environmental impact as fireworks do. In fact, lasers of 10 to 80 watts are common – that is less than an iMac (about 100 watts).
  • Make poppers with recycled bottles, balloons and confetti.
  • Firecracker piñatas are a quieter for children’s sensitive ears.
  • Mix up some red and blue bubbles for outdoor fun.
  • Fireworks In A Jar is a fun and educational project
  • Make a red, white and blue wand by re-purposing materials from around the house.
  • Small reusable party favors, such as clappers, give kids a safe way to make a little sound without scaring anyone.

Really want to celebrate the holiday with a bang and enjoy some Fourth of July fireworks? Rather than stockpiling the backyard with your own store-bought stuff, reduce your environmental impact by heading to a community fireworks show – you’ll Mother Nature a huge favor!

The environmental impact of the fireworks show will be there regardless of you going, but with more people ditching their own fireworks and sharing in the big show, the environmental impact of personal fireworks is reduced. Besides, it’s a great way to build connections with your community. And community is what makes a country strong!

Looking for a way to reduce the impact of your celebrations? Click here to check out the TerraPass carbon calculator. And for more eco-friendly tips and information, visit our website, like us on Facebook, tweet us @Terrapass and take a look at our Pinterest boards!










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