Memorial Day is a traditional holiday in the United States. It’s celebrated on the last Monday in May. It’s a day designed to honor those who died in active military service. It’s also a day when friends and family get together and enjoy the warmer weather as Memorial Day is also considered the unofficial start of summer. In many households and communities the Me morial Day celebration begins on Friday after work and extends through the long weekend and the end of the day on Monday.

This Memorial Day weekend you can honor the military and welcome summer with open arms while also being environmentally conscious. The following tips, tactics, and ideas will help you green your Memorial Day weekend.

Planning a party or cookout? Use recyclable and reusable dinnerware. For example, instead of paper plates bring out the reusable dishes or consider purchasing biodegradable materials made from corn. And set up recycling stations around the yard so people can recycle their drink bottles, foil, paper products, and plastics.

Grill in an eco-friendly manner. Did you know that charcoal emits more harmful gasses than propane? Electric grills are the most environmentally friendly; they produce 91% less carbon dioxide than charcoal.

Buy local. Consider buying your Memorial Day weekend meal ingredients from your local food producers. Visit your local farmer’s market or buy from local farms. Your supermarket may also identify produce that’s been locally grown or raised. Locally grown and produced food means it doesn’t have to travel far to get to you. The carbon footprint is reduced. Additionally, many local growers utilize sustainable farming and growing practices.

Compost. Do you have a compost bin or pile? If not, Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to start one. Compost your scraps from your festivities and get your compost off to a great start. And if you do have a compost pile then composting on Memorial Day weekend is easy if you make it easy for your guests; let them know you compost and identify the procedure you’ve established to collect compostable materials.

Finally, consider starting the summer off on the right foot. Create household habits that will keep your home cool and inviting all summer long. Close the curtains on the sunny side of the house. Turn off electronics and lights when appliances aren’t in use. And manage your central air in an efficient manner. Simply turning the air conditioning up a degree or two, for example change it from 75 degrees to 77 degrees, can save electricity and reduce your carbon footprint – and really, one or two degrees won’t make much of a difference in your comfort.

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