Though July Fourth barbecues and picnics have historically not been very vegan-friendly, these days, there are more and more celebratory outdoor gatherings produced without the exploitation of animals. However, for a truly ethical event, you’ll want to be sure to employ eco- and animal-friendly dishes as well as décor—along with your veggie burgers and soy dogs. Here’s a list of items for your Independence Day gathering that not only look great, but won’t cause harm to any living beings, nor the planet. Remember, your décor lets guests know the mood, energy, and theme (if you have one) of your event. These decorative touches offer a rustic, earthy and country-inspired Fourth of July setting.
1. Bales of Hay
Since this is a country-themed Fourth of July event, gotta’ git’ some bales o’ hay strewn throughout. They add a fun vibe, set the scene visually, and are a conversation starter for sure. If kids are at the party, they will absolutely love climbing on the haystacks. Best of all, they are biodegradable, so they won’t hurt the environment, nor the animals who call it home.
2. Paper Plates Made of Sugarcane Waste
Wasara is a unique brand of disposable tableware. Not only are their dish and cup designs super-cool, but the tableware decomposes in soil and can be used as compost. That means it won’t negatively impact the environment or lead to toxic leachate in landfills when you toss it away. The tableware is made of “bagasse,” which is sugarcane waste, along with bamboo and reed pulp. With these planet-friendly additions, your vegan Fourth of July event can also serve as a great source of goodies for your backyard compost pile—feeding earthworms, millipedes, and all of the micro-organisms who live there.
3. Disposable Wooden Forks
Even disposable utensils that are seemingly environment and animal-friendly may have dyes and treatments that make them harmful to the planet when thrown away. Birchware Elegant’s Compostable Wooden Forks are free of dyes, bleaches, and glazes, meaning they have a minimum impact on the planet when they land in a landfill or incinerator. That means fewer toxic gases and other substances that can negatively impact wild animals. Plus, they are 100 percent compostable, so can actually help your garden grow after serving some time in a compost container. The wooden look will also add a lovely, eco-friendly touch to your rustic décor.
4. Stainless Steel Drinking Straws
500 million plastic drinking straws are thrown out every day! Difficult to recycle, and often ending up in our oceans, those same straws create pollution and kill animals and sea life. It’s tragic. Switch to eco-friendly versions, such as Kollea Stainless Steel Drinking Straws, that are reusable and beautiful to behold. They are made of metal—a lovely decorative touch—while also super-durable, and will surely spark conversations about saving our planet.
5. American Flag Throw Pillows and Flag Runner
Dress up your chairs, couches, beach spread, and pool area with these sturdy Cotton Linen American Flag pillows. The covers have zippers for easy cleaning, so they are ideal for outdoor use. The natural-looking linen offers a subtle rustic vibe for your country aesthetic, and pillows will keep your guests comfortable while they indulge in all of your cruelty-free fare. You can also use pops of color and patterns to add energy to the table with a cotton red, white, and blue rustic American flag runner. In addition to presenting some Independence Day flair, it combines beautifully with the white Wasara plates and cups. Made of burlap, the runner picks up on your country theme, and won’t hurt the environment. Adding bright colors and pattern to your décor will do a lot to perk up your picnic or buffet table.
6. Wood Pallet Coasters
Keeping with a rustic country Fourth of July theme, these drink coasters mimic farmhouse-chic wooden pallets. Composed of wood, they will look great next to each plate setting, as well as on top of those haystacks, and other areas you’ve set up for drinking.
Deborah DiMare is the founder of a 100-percent vegan luxury interior design company DiMare Design and VeganDesign.org.