CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Parties, picnics, camping and fun in the water are staples of the Independence Day holiday. While the purpose of the occasion is to celebrate our freedom with family and friends, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection urges the public to also keep the environment in mind.
You can keep your red, white and blue celebrations “green” by following these tips:
• When hosting a party, provide markers and ask that each guest write his or her name on a cup. This will eliminate confusion and reduce the number of cups used.
• Try to use one fewer paper napkin. If everyone in the U.S. decreased his/her napkin use by one, the amount of napkins found in landfills would be reduced by more than a billion pounds each year.
• Consider reusable bottles or cups at your party instead of bottled water or soda bottles. Nearly 90 percent of plastic bottles are not recycled and take thousands of years to decompose.
• Use matches for your campfire or other fire needs rather than lighters. Since most lighters are considered “disposable,” more than 1.5 billion of them end up in landfills each year. When choosing matches, pick cardboard over wood because most cardboard matches are made from recycled paper.
• When doing the dishes, skip rinsing them before using your dishwasher. This will save up to 20 gallons of water each load. Plus, you're saving time and the energy used to heat the additional water.
• Do not throw trash on the ground or into streams. A soda can will take 200 to 400 years to break down and a disposable diaper can take up to 500 years to decompose. Be sure to dispose of your trash appropriately and, when possible, recycle. You can learn more about recycling by contacting your local recycling center.
• If you’re in the pool, try not to splash. While splashing and diving are fun, they result in significant water loss. Keep as much water in the pool as possible.
For more green tips and other DEP news and information, go to www.dep.wv.gov
. Also, be sure to connect with the agency on all social media platforms. Follow @DEPWV on Twitter and find us on YouTube by searching “Environment Matters.” For specific information about the Adopt-A-Highway, West Virginia Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), West Virginia Watershed Improvement Branch, Youth Environmental Program and Human Resources initiatives, connect on Facebook.