Ocean Currents

Reduce Trash at Your July 4th Bash

© flickr user Thomas Hawk

It’s time for the great American barbecues, picnics and parties that—along with patriotic music and fireworks—create great Independence Day memories.

Food, drink, décor and fireworks can mean a lot of trash—trash that often ends up in the ocean. That’s right, even if you live hundreds of miles from the ocean, trash from your area can travel down waterways to the sea, fouling the water and endangering wildlife.

How big is the problem? Last year during Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers picked up enough food packaging alone for one person to get takeout breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next 858 years.

So if you’re planning to entertain on July 4th, think red, white and especially blue: Keep these tips in mind for a clean and healthy ocean:

1. Ask guests to bring their own reusable cup. (Added benefit: They can easily identify their drinks if they set them down.)

2. Place a recycling bin in plain sight.

3. If you get take-out, ask the deli to put potato salad or fried chicken directly on your serving platter to reduce throw-away containers that become trash.

4. Replace plastic knives, forks and spoons with the real thing.

5. After the party, roll up your mini-flags and other decorations and put them away for next year instead of pitching them.

6. Pick up all fireworks fragments that fall to the ground for proper disposal.

Got another tip? Leave it for others in the comments section below. And enjoy the holiday!

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