Unnaturally-colored beer. Paper leprechaun hats. Plastic cups strewn everywhere. St Patrick's Day can be wasteful indeed, but that doesn't mean your celebration of it has to be. For Irish-Americans (or anyone who feels like toasting them tonight), here are five things that are green - in more way than one - for St. Patrick's Day.
- Beer. Obviously the first thing on the list. If there was ever a day to drink green (eco-friendly) beer, this is it. Try a local or organic beer. Drink draft out of a glass, if possible, rather than a plastic cup. Bottles are a better environmental choice than cans. Planet Green has a guide to buying green St. Patrick's Day beer here.
- Food. Many will indulge in some delicious corned beef, but that's not the only food that Ireland is known for. Try some Irish soda bread, or a veggie stew. Don't forget potatoes - traditional, with the added benefit of a tiny carbon footprint. How about some colcannon?
- Transit. If you're celebrating tonight, leave the car at home. By taking public transportation to your St. Patrick's Day party or bar of choice, you'll be environmentally friendly and also won't have to worry about driving home safely after a few organic brews. If public transit isn't an options, sign on with a few friends for a designated driver-led carpool.
- Rivers (literally, yes; environmentally, kinda). The Chicago River received its annual dose of green dye this weekend, and though the formula is kept secret, the Chicago’s Journeymen Plumbers Union vow that the dye is nontoxic and environmentally friendly. Notes the , "40 pounds of dye is a proverbial drop in the bucket compared to all the other stuff that’s in the Chicago River," which is known to contain mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls.
- Parades. Many cities have made attempts to host St Patrick's Day parades that are more environmentally aware. Savannah, Ga., offered a guide for parade-goers to be greener, and the St. Paddy's Day parade was themed "Go Green" (No word on how the parade actually accomplished this). Sacramento's parade featured eco-friendly floats, and Chicago tourism sites touted the city's many green restaurants, stores and hotels.