Plan a greener National Night Out

National Night Out is Tuesday, Aug. 2. Minneapolis block club leaders planning NNO events should also plan on leaving a smaller environmental footprint thus saving money, using fewer resources and throwing away less garbage. A greener NNO may not even require any new supplies. Tips for a greener block party include:

  • Using reusable plates, cups and utensils to save throwing away and buying new every time. Planners who don’t have enough plates or cups can ask neighbors to bring their own.
  • Providing condiments in bulk containers.
  • Saving decorations to use again next year.
  • Only serving beverages in reusable or recyclable containers.
  • Recycling the bottles, cans and other recyclables from the party. Setting out bins or bags and labeling them will make it easy for guests.
  • Whenever possible, using email instead of paper to get information to neighbors.
  • Serving local, healthy food from farmers markets or organizers’ own gardens.

More ideas are at Green Block Party Ideas (pdf). People shouldn’t be afraid to ask for neighbors’ help – that’s the spirit of National Night Out.

Neighbors wanting to take their commitment even further can see if they can organize a zero-waste event by recycling, reusing and composting everything and throwing nothing away. More information about zero waste is at Be a Zero Hero.

Barbecuing

Anyone using propane to grill should use refillable propane tanks whenever possible. An empty, non-refillable propane tank must be disposed of safely. The retailer or manufacturer may have take-back options, otherwise a list of companies that accept propane tanks is at www.hennepinatoz.org/azguide/household.html.

Those barbecuing with charcoal should dispose of leftover lighter fluid and treated charcoal properly by bringing it to a drop-off facility.

Recreational fires. Follow the law for clean air and safety …

Folks who enjoy a small outdoor fire at their get-togethers should keep these City ordinances in mind:

… and be considerate of neighbors

These simple suggestions could help make sure neighbors are being considerate:

For more information on recreational fires or to register a complaint about a recreational fire, call 311 or email Minneapolis311@minneapolismn.gov.

Published Jul 13, 2011