Your Lawn Won’t be the only thing that’s Green This Summer! How to Have Eco-Friendly BBQs and 4th of July Parties
It’s that time of year… when you are ready to show off your grilling and culinary skills. This summer is sure to be a big one for summer BBQs and entertaining as more people are inclined to have outdoor gatherings and the booming housing market has led to many new homeowners ready to host. However, often summer BBQs come with trash bags full of red solo cups and cans, thrown out plastic decorations, utensils and so much waste. This year let’s make a change. Let’s make a green change together. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to implement everything. Just adding 1 thing from the list below to your party planning will make a difference.
- Avoid single-use items: We can accumulate a lot of unnecessary waste from the napkins, utensils, plates, bowls, cups etc. while entertaining. Try investing in some reusable options. Not only is this better for the planet but it is better for your wallet. You can go out thrifting with your kids and pick out some fun items together. Keep a stash of all the items and when you have a get together (or kids birthday party) you are all set with what you need. This way you save money and time by not needing to rush out to the store to buy what you need. Or, if the thought of doing all of those dishes is just too much, look into compostable options for your get together. The blue, white and red theme of the 4th of July is not only festive but timeless too.
- Send home leftovers: Food waste is a real thing and a real problem. The United States alone discards nearly 40 million tons — 80 billion pounds — every year. That’s estimated to be 30-40 percent of the entire US food supply, and equates to 219 pounds of waste per person. Instead of trashing your food at the end of your BBQ, have your guests take food home with them. This is a win-win for you and the planet. You could even ask them to bring their containers. If you have scraps or food that can’t be eaten, consider composting it to avoid the trash can.
- Don’t ditch your decorations: Everyone loves kids’ art, right?! Grab some paint and crayons and get your kids to work on making some fun decorations. Store bought decorations tend to end up in the trash because most can’t be recycled. But if you decide to get some store-bought decor before trashing them, box them up to use for the following year or for another celebration. Keep your table cloths to reuse over and over, luckily most people celebrate the 4th of July every year.
- Try to avoid pre-packaged food and drinks: Pre-packaged food can sometimes be easier than chopping up all the fruits and veggies etc. that you might need. Get your kids involved by having them go food shopping with you (checkout your local farmers market!) and help you prepare the food ahead of time. Less waste will end up in the trash and you can spend some time with your kids. When it comes to drinks, make large batch cocktails or get a keg instead of buying individual cans. If you go the can route, collect them all and have y0ur kids go and cash them in.
- Buy local: Food locally sourced just tastes better. That cucumber from across the country just doesn’t taste the same as the local one. While you are planning out your menu, think of the different foods you can buy locally and support a local butcher and farmer! Get your kids involved by asking what foods they would like to see on the menu. This way you know they will eat it and less will go to waste!
- Keep it natural: Some sunscreens and bug sprays are not friendly to us and the planet. One option is to make your own products. This way you know exactly what is in your product sunscreen and bug spray, but it is not always feasible for all families to do this. You can also simply buy your own. Look for bug spray that is free of DEET and sunscreens that are reef-friendly and contain non-nano zinc oxide particles.
Shell Freedom Over Texas
Houston’s signature patriotic celebration, Shell Freedom Over Texas, returns with a salute to America’s Frontline Heroes. The annual day-long festival is on hold for one more season, however, Houstonians can enjoy the City’s cherished tradition of music and patriotic moments via live broadcast on Sunday, 4th of July from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. on ABC 13. Fireworks will reach 800 feet, almost doubling the height of the traditional show, for more to enjoy from further away. Open spaces and neighborhood parks with a view of the western downtown skyline are ideal. Eleanor Tinsley Park will be open for fireworks viewing only for families that wish to park downtown and walk (Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive will be closed for fall out.