How to have a “green” red, white and blue!
This is a guest post by Dana from Wild Mint (formerly known as Essential Safe Products), a company dedicated to helping families build healthier lifestyles with toxin free, eco friendly solutions. Wild Mint has been a longtime supporter of Groovy Green Livin and I’m thrilled to share this post.
Its summertime and the day we’ve all been looking forward to is right around the corner…the 4th of July! On this day, we are fortunate to celebrate the freedom of our nation with friends and family in backyards or on beaches, barbequing, relaxing, and playing games. Many of us look forward to the day off work to let loose and unwind, and we usually finish it all off with a marvelous display of fireworks. Sounds great, doesn’t it?!
Yes! Except unwinding shouldn’t mean that we aren’t also being responsible and healthy while we are having fun! We can certainly have a safe and eco friendly July 4th while still enjoying our day. So, in the spirit of summer and having a “green” red, white, blue, Wild Mint is sharing some eco friendly tips for a safe and happy 4th of July:
1) Fire Up the Grill with Caution and Care
- Before you grill – Especially for those grills that have been sitting in the garage all winter, one of the easiest ways to prevent an accident is by inspecting your grill prior to use. Before you turn on the grill, check to make sure there are no cracks in the unit or tears in the tubing (if it’s a gas grill) that might cause leaks.
- As you grill– Make sure you know how to use your grill properly. If it’s a charcoal grill, then it requires the burning of charcoal to ignite flames to cook. Use a charcoal grill completely outdoors in a well ventilated area, since its fumes are toxic in closed areas. If you have a gas grill that uses a propane tank, follow the manufacturer’s instructions when connecting the tanks to the grill. Also, carefully monitor the tanks while grilling and make sure they are upright. Finally, keep the tanks and hoses away from heated surfaces, if possible.
- After you grill – When the BBQ is over, close your grill up correctly by making sure it’s completely cooled down before you cover it. Check all valves to ensure they are completely turned off, and gas cylinders should be completely shut off and stored in a cool, safe place.
2) Eat Responsibility
4th of July BBQs are one of the most important times to remember food safety, since people can bring quickly perishable food items and in all the fun it’s easy to forget about basic sanitary precautions.
- Leaving food out too long, especially in warm temperatures, can invite nasty food borne illness to your party, yuck! Remember not to leave food out for more than one hour when the temperature is above 90 degrees and no more than two hours at other times.
- Foods that need to be kept cold should stay safely in a cooler with lots of ice or freezing packs at a maximum temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Especially for dishes with mayonnaise and other egg ingredients, extra precautions should be taken.
- Even just the simplest tips of remembering to wash your hands and using correct food preparation to avoid cross contamination can also help prevent food poisoning.
3) Remember the “Land” That is Ours and Be Good to It
We fought for the red, white, and blue, so let’s fight to keep it green! Before you reach for those disposable plates, cups, utensils and other items remember that the average American produces roughly 4.3 pounds of waste every day, only about one third of which is recycled. Instead of adding to the mountain of garbage in our landfills, choose eco friendly options. And to help avoid harmful chemicals like BPA and phthalates, take it one step further and choose eco friendly, plastic-free options.
- Some helpful options you could try are marinating meats in glass food storage containers instead of plastic baggies, and serving beverages in stainless steel or glass cups. Many people like drinking out of glass better than plastic and stainless steel is durable and will keep drinks cold.
- For utensils, try bamboo, which is light, durable, eco friendly, and looks great for entertaining. There are reusable and biodegradable options available.
There are many other eco friendly and safer choices for items and even if the clean up takes a little longer, you won’t have a whole bunch of waste to pick up after people either!
4) Take the Greener Route to Fireworks
It’s true that fireworks are a big part of the holiday tradition, but they aren’t exactly an Earth friendly undertaking!
- If you are planning to set off your own this year, try to find some that are rich in nitrogen, which may cost more but puts less smoke into the environment.
- Or gather your group together and go see a local display, so you don’t add extra harm to the environment by setting off your own.
- Finally, if you feel like being a little adventurous and trying something new, think about seeing a laser light show instead, for excitement without all the pollution. Or check out a parade, for all the noise and entertainment, in a completely different arena!
We hope you enjoyed these tips and have a safe and enjoyable time on our nation’s day of independence!
Do you have any green 4th of July tips? Let us know in the comments!