Labor Day- The Green Way

Labor Day is one of the first signs that summer will soon be behind us. Let’s not forget to extend our green lifestyle into our next outdoor gathering. We have selected some easy ways to make this Labor Day a little greener.

1. Use natural charcoal or wood for your grill. Natural charcoal is very basic – it’s simply charred wood. It’s available by the bag at major retailers and home improvement stores. Using wood itself is another option. If you have a basic backyard grill (not propane), you can burn fallen sticks and twigs that you can gather yourself with minimal effort.

2. Send out electronic invitations to save paper. Or, make your own invitations from scrap paper or junk mail.

3. Encourage your guests to walk, bike, carpool, or use public transportation to get to your party.

4. Serve local, seasonal foods. Labor Day is still within the growing season in many parts of the country. Corn, tomatoes, peppers, onions and squash are all good options for grilling and are still in season in early September. Potato wedges cooked on the grill can take the place of packaged potato chips. Regardless of where you live, there will be something good and grill-able that is in season and grown locally.

5. Serve food on reusable flatware and plates. Serve drinks from washable cups and glasses. If possible, have drinks in coolers and kegs rather than individual cans or bottles.

6. For those items that are disposable (beverage cans or bottles, for example), have clearly labeled recycling bins set up for guests where they can easily toss their used items.

7. Burn citronella candles or torches around the parameters of your party or grilling area if it’s all outdoors. Have citronella candles burning on any outdoor tables where your guests will be eating. Provide natural insect lotions or sprays for your guests as well.

8. If you want to cook meat on the grill, choose grass-fed, organic, and/or free range meats. Wild meats are also a good option if the season coincides. You can still serve traditional burgers and hotdogs – just choose vegetarian or free-range, organic versions of these classic foods.

9. Make dessert from seasonal, local fruits. Some berries are still in season around Labor Day – serve them in a cobbler or pie, or raw with sauce or dips.

10. Strings of festive LED lights in appropriate colors provide eco-friendly lighting for your party. Solar lights are also an option – they are easily obtained these days and can be quite affordable.

Have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

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