The Fourth of July approaches. For those of us in the U.S. portion of the Great Lakes region, thoughts of Independence Day fireworks displays, parades and outdoor parties beckon from the weekend. While preparing for the festivities, you may want to consider how pollution prevention (P2) relates and include a little green with your red, white and blue.
Pyrotechnics for the Planet: This cover story by Bethany Halford in the June 30, 2008 edition of Chemical & Engineering News (Vol. 86, No. 26, pgs. 14-18) provides information on the environmental hazards associated with fireworks and other pyrotechnics and provides an overview of the efforts of scientists to replace both hazardous substances (e.g. perchlorate, certain metals and combustion products, etc.) and potentially polluting processes (e.g. using compressed air to launch fireworks as opposed to using black powder that produces smoke) to create more environmentally friendly pyrotechnics.
Green Grilling Tips: Best Grills and Fuel: This 6/27/08 post by Mindy Pennybacker on the Plenty Magazine web site (now defunct and folded into the Mother Nature Network) provides an environmental comparison of different types of grills and fuel, links to further information and a brief description of why it’s important to consider the environmental impact of grilling.
Also, whether they’re grilled or not, consider local ingredients for the dishes at your celebration to reduce the energy used to bring your meal to your table while supporting your local economy. If you’re not aware of a local farmer’s market or other source for local ingredients, check the Local Harvest web site.
Make it Reusable, Recyclable or Compostable
When it comes time to eat what you’ve grilled, consider using reusable plates, bowls, napkins and cutlery. If that simply isn’t feasible, be sure to consider options that are recyclable or compostable and made with recycled content if possible. Check out the Preserve web site, Green Earth Office Supply, EarthShell, NAT-UR or Treecycle for some ideas.
For more information or conversation on this topic, check out the U.S. EPA’s Greenversations Blog, where the question of the week is “How Will You Green Your 4th of July?” Also, feel free to share your tips for greening your Independence Day celebrations in the “Comments” section of this post.