Wednesday is Independence Day, a day to celebrate and get together with family and friends at bbqs, parties and summer outings. July 5th is also one of the busiest days for volunteer cleanup crews and Surfrider chapters at beaches and parks across the country. Someone has to cleanup after the party, but the most important thing you can do is to use less plastic at your celebration.

One of the most common materials leftover from the festivities is – you guessed it – single-use plastic. Here are some simple tips to help reduce your plastic footprint while still having fun in the sun:

Pack In + Pack Out. Plan ahead and pack reusable items to prevent having to throw out trash or leave anything behind. And always make sure litter lands in the designated trash bins or bring it back with you to recycle.

Choose wisely at your BBQ. If you’re hosting an event, skip the single-use plastic and use regular plates, utensils and glasses if possible. If you are headed to the beach or park, bring reusable plates, cups, and silverware. If you must choose disposable, look for a good paper or biodegradable option.

BYOB. Leave the plastic bags at the store. Reusable bags will fit your food, towel, reusable bottle and other essential items.

BYOC. Check out the beach or park on a busy day and you’ll find lots of cups in people’s hands. Plastic and foam cups are often left littered across beaches. Invest in some reusable cups or bring your reusable bottle. In addition to reducing plastic pollution, you save money in the long run.

Think outside the cooler. Avoid the foam coolers and other items that you plan to use for a day or less because they won’t likely last beyond the weekend. Check local thrift stores, resale shops and community websites for quality items at a good price.

Have a blast this Fourth and enjoy your local beach, park or favorite place!