Observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day is a celebration of the many efforts and achievements of American workers. It became an official holiday in 1894 and is meant to honor the many social and economic achievements of workers.
Nowadays, most of us see this national holiday as the perfect time for one last hurrah to celebrate the end of summer. It gives us a great excuse for one last summer getaway, one more cookout with family and friends, and another opportunity to indulge in a rare three-day weekend.
While the extra time off is good for the soul, the waste often generated during Labor Day celebrations is definitely not good for the environment.
Use these tips to help you enjoy the Labor Day weekend with a greener celebration (and a clearer conscious!).
1. Reconsider plastic and paper products
Yes, we understand that paper products are more convenient for parties and cookouts. Yet, every year, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times. Instead, opt for greener options such as reusable products that are made from recycled materials, such as those made by Preserve Plateware.
When you do have to grab the paper stuff, be sure to purchase recycled and chlorine-free products. Use renewable paperware made from bamboo, sugar cane, or other natural materials. The plates will be a whole lot sturdier, and can typically be composted as well! We’re fans of World Centric products made with plant fibers or recycled paper.
Hosting a cookout? Ask your guests to bring their own reusable containers to tote home leftovers. Win-Win: Less food waste, not to mention less clean up for you at the end of the night!
2. Buy local and organic
Take pride in knowing where your party food is grown. With the local farmers market season still in full swing, there’s plenty of options for picking up fresh, and locally grown foods. Check out our 2015 Farmers Market Guide and get inspired!
3. Green your Grilling
Use the greenest grilling options available. Electric and propane grills are definitely better than charcoal. If that’s your only option however, try using cleaner burning, natural charcoals. If you’ve got your heart set on the flavor that comes from grilling over wood, Woodflame grills were the most eco-friendly option we could find.
4. Pack less and carpool more
Using fuel efficient cars is important, but we can save even more fuel by simply driving less and driving smart. Carpooling is always a great option when several of your friends or family members are all heading to the same destination.
If you’re heading out of town this Labor Day, consider packing a lighter load. Traveling with heavier items in your car burns more gas and increases your carbon footprint, not to mention the amount of money you spend at the pump.
5. Pick up waste and recycle
It may sound cliche, but be considerate and pick up your trash and recycle whenever possible. No one likes a litter bug. Every single aluminum can recycled helps save enough energy to run a computer for up to three hours! Even the smallest efforts make a big difference.