End Plastics

This Holiday Weekend, Go Plastic Free

As summer gets into full swing the United States is gearing up for one of its favorite holidays, July 4th. On this day of independence, citizens all over the US will be celebrating with food, drinks and fun for everyone! And while we’ll all be enjoying the weekend in different ways, there is one common item that will be at almost all of these get-togethers – plastic.

We may be an independent nation, yet we are certainly still very dependent on plastics. Our food comes packaged in plastic, many will use plastic plates and cutlery and the fireworks we set off will leave plastic and cardboard that can easily find its way into our global oceans. 

The plastics ending up in our oceans have dire effects on marine life. Plastics can easily be mistaken for food by marine animals, and often lead to disease. In fact, 89% of reefs containing plastic show signs of disease. Such exposure can result in suffocation, starvation, entanglement and often death.

What does this mean for your July 4th celebration plans? 

July 4th is an important holiday to citizens across the country, despite the wastefulness that can surround it. However, there are many ways that we can reverse this trashy trend and make our July 4th fun and environmentally friendly. Here are some tips you can apply this July 4th to cut down on your waste and even become independent from plastics as well. 

  1. Use reusable plates and cutlery- When having outdoor cookouts it is common to see plastic cups, plates, bowls and cutlery being used as it is an easy alternative. However, due to the food waste on these items, they are often not recyclable. Consider using reusable items that do not need to be thrown away at the end of your celebration.
  2. Seek out better packaging - Often, the food we consume will be packaged in plastics. If you plan to cook meat this July 4th, go to your local grocer/butcher and ask for plastic-free packaging. Often your butcher will be able to package your goods in paper, which is a much friendlier option for the environment.  (Or go one step further and seek out plant-based menu options.)
  3. Skip the packaging for your fruits and veggies- instead of placing your fruit and veggies in the thin plastic bags supplied at stores, simply put them in your reusable grocery bag. This simple practice alone can save millions of plastic bags from reaching the ocean.
  4. If you set it off, pick it up- fireworks usually have plastic and cardboard waste associated with them. If you are going to be setting off fireworks, make sure you pick up the waste they leave behind and dispose of it properly. 
  5. Plan a July 5th Cleanup!- As we have already established, our July 4th celebrations can create a lot of unclaimed waste. This includes parks, neighborhoods and beaches. To keep this waste from reaching our oceans and waterways, pick it up! You can plan and register your own cleanup on the Great Global Cleanup Site
  6. Take the pledge to end plastic pollution- To continue your part in the movement to end plastic pollution, sign the EARTHDAY.ORG plastic pledge. We will also keep you informed with the latest plastic news and tips

Using these steps we can make our July 4th more environmentally friendly and by applying them to our everyday routine we can make an even bigger difference. Take action with EARTHDAY.ORG and let’s put an end to plastic pollution!  

Use your voice, challenge yourself to go plastic free and encourage those around you to act as well. Use EARTHDAY.ORG’S Plastic Footprint Calculator to see the impact your plastic use is having. With collective action we can create a future free of plastics and give generations to come a more stable and healthy environment.

And please consider supporting earth day every day by becoming a member today.