Observed on the last Monday in May, Memorial Day honors the many men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. It’s a great opportunity to remember those who have fallen by visiting related memorials, enjoying local parades or getting together with family and friends for a gathering. As a rare three-day weekend, Memorial Day has also become the ideal time to kick off the beginning of summer.
Unfortunately, amid all the backyard cookouts and other get-togethers, Memorial Day also happens to generate a tremendous amount of waste. As you plan your Memorial Day weekend, use these tips to kick off the summer season with a greener state of mind.
1. Reconsider plastic and paper products
There’s no doubt 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.
Bonus: 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 several local farmers markets already open for business, there’s plenty of options for picking up fresh and locally grown foods. Check out our 2016 Farmers Market Guide and get inspired!
Bonus: Get the most from shopping at the Farmers Market with these 7 tips!
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 you 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 Memorial 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.
Bonus: Check out more great tips for smart traveling from our friends at Commute Smart.
5. Pick up waste and recycle
It may seem basic, but being considerate and picking up your trash and recycling whenever possible is one of the easiest ways to enjoy a greener celebration. Each aluminum can recycled helps save enough energy to run a computer for up to three hours! Even the smallest efforts make a big difference.