Sure, the Fourth of July is all about relaxing, but there are a few things to keep in mind while celebrating the country’s birthday. Here are some tips for celebrating life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness—and the planet.

  • Rather than bringing lots of small water bottles or soda bottles out on the motorboat or to a barbecue, look at ways to minimize waste. Fill a large spouted cooler with water or other drinks, and serve yourself in reusable water bottles or cups. Buy a keg for beer, and wine-in-a-box is best for vino lovers (see this month’s E Magazine feature on the subject).
  • In the spirit of reducing waste, choose cloth napkins and tablecloths rather than paper.  As a bonus, it makes your event look that much classier.
  • As you whip up the potato salad and kabobs, buy your produce and other groceries from a farmer’s market or other local source.  The Jersey Fresh website has lists of markets and pick-your-own farms.
  • Definitely lather on the sunscreen. But think about buying eco-friendly lotion that won’t release synthetic chemicals, parabens, alcohol, and other harmful ingredients into the lake environment. Kiss My Face has a line of sunscreen that’s based on essential oils and natural ingredients. Other brands with similar products include Caribbean Solutions SolGuard, Murad, Rare Natural Care, Aubrey Organics, and UV Natural.
  • Same thing goes for insect repellant. Use a citronella candle, rather than bug spray, if you can.  If you’ve got to spray, Repel Lemon Eucalyptus insect repellent is plant based—derived from oil of lemon eucalyptus—and effective. Burt's Bees also carries a natural repellant. For the ladies, Bugs B Wear has a line of sterling silver jewelry that you can fill with citrus-scented oil—made of citronella, mint, and lemongrass—to naturally get rid of critters.
  • While you’re out relaxing on the water, be sure not to let your boat idle any longer than you have to. And tempting as it is to fill your gas tank with cheaper gas from roadside stations, the law requires you to fill up at lakeside stations…there are less likely to be gas spills that way, too.
  • The lake isn’t a giant waste receptacle!  Be sure to secure your garbage in the boat so it doesn’t fly out and accumulate on the lake’s surface or floor.

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