Your Sustainability Tips: Add some “Green” to your Red, White and Blue!

Light up your Fourth of July a little more this year by adding a little “green” to the party! The Fourth of July is a time of celebration, family fun, and the smell of food on the grill, but it can also be a day that is hard on the planet. Here are a few tips to creating a more eco-friendly Fourth of July.


  • If you are grilling out this holiday, try and use a more eco-friendly method. Purchase charcoal that doesn’t contain oil, limestone, or petroleum. You can also use an electric grill, too.
  • Use locally grown, organic vegetables and meat.
  • Instead of purchasing plastic plates, silverware, cups, etc., try to find a compostable, recyclable or reusable alternative. Don’t forget to skip the plastic straw, too, or use a compostable one! Indian Creek Nature Center sells Party Packs in the Creekside Shop that contain all compostable dinnerware items.
  • Thirsty? Ditch the plastic water bottles and take along a refillable bottle.


Although the red streamers, plastic stars, and party favors may be fun, they are not eco-friendly. You can still get the same feel by creating your own decorations with reusable materials. Ideas include:

  • Homemade cloth napkins and tablecloth using patriotic themed materials.
  • Paint mason jars with stars and stripes and add fresh flowers, or use them as utensil holders, or both!
  • Make homemade streamers out of cloth.
  • Make paper stars to hang as decorations.
  • If you purchase small American flags for decorations, save them and use them again next year.
  • Paint a flag on a pallet and reuse it each year.

Make your own cold treats:

  • Make your own popsicles using a reusable Popsicle mold. You can even add fruit to make them healthier.
  • Make your own cookies and let the kids decorate them.
  • Make homemade ice cream.
  • Bake a homemade pie using blueberries and raspberries from the garden, or shop a local grocer and purchase locally grown fruit.

Offset your carbon footprint:

With all the traveling and grilling that takes place over the holiday, offset your carbon footprint. Check out this calculator from the Nature Conservancy (click “travel” at the top of the calculator): You can calculate your carbon footprint, choose a local environmental nonprofit – like Indian Creek Nature Center – and make a donation to offset your carbon footprint.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July from your Nature Center!

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