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After months of quarantine, we are all ready to get back outside and spend some quality time with our friends and family. Keeping an eye out for litter is always important, but it really needs to be front of mind during this Fourth of July, a holiday overwhelmingly known for its plastic plates, cups, and silverware, and now – disposable PPE gear!

Here are our top ten tips for an eco-conscious Fourth:

1.      Skip the plastic.

Use glass, paper cups and plates, and bamboo utensils. If you must use plastic, check the bottom for the “recycle” seal to make sure they can go in your bin without contaminating other recyclables. It is also important to note that with the resurgence of COVID in many states, many will be generating extra waste with PPE gear. Instead of disposable masks and sanitizer bottles, make sure to opt for masks (or buffs!) that can be washed and grab refill sized Hand Sanitizers to reduce waste: https://stream2sea.com/products

2.      Recycle.

Even if you absolutely can’t avoid plastic utensils and drink containers, recycle items like beer and soda cans. Make this easy by planning in advance to bring a separate sack for recyclable materials.

3.      Say ‘no’ to toxic sunscreens.

Make sure to bring the ONLY mineral based sunscreen on the planet that’s been tested and proven safe for freshwater fish, saltwater fish, and coral larvae, and has passed the stringent HEL Labs Protect Land + Sea certification. Grab yours: www.stream2sea.com/products

4.      Make picking up a game.

If your group includes kids, consider setting up a scavenger hunt with prizes for kids. Google “trash scavenger hunt” for lots of cool ideas for different ages. Make sure to tag us in your 4th of July cleanup photos on Instagram (@Stream2Sea) – the photos with the most trash picked up will receive complimentary refillable Hand Sanitizer Pocket Sprayers!

5.      Use big containers.

Large containers of water and juice consume much less plastic than individual servings in plastic or plastic-coated juice boxes.

6.      Mark it up, save your cup.

Even with one large serving container, you’ll need individual cups. Bring a marker to put names on individual cups so each person just uses one for the entire day.

7.      Check your charcoal.

Traditional briquettes are made with petroleum products that cause pollution and emit greenhouse gases. Look for charcoal that doesn’t contain coal, oil or other petroleum products, or grill with propane.

8.      Watch out for birds.

If you’re planning a trip to the beach, watch out for birds. Many species are nesting directly on sand now and they’re practically invisible unless you look carefully. 

9.      Pick up.

Plan on picking up after other people. We’ve all seen the photos of totally trashed beaches and parks after holiday weekends – do more than your part and take other people’s trash home instead of leaving it to harm wildlife. The best part is, this always catches on!

10.  Community Fireworks

As families set off their own personal firework displays, they’re releasing particulates that contain chemicals known to harm both people and wildlife. Plan on attending firework events scheduled in multiple spots across the region rather than creating your own personal pollution. 

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