Celebrate Sustainably: Go Green for Memorial Day

Celebrate Sustainably: Go Green for Memorial Day

Living sustainably means a flip-flop is what you wear during summer, not what you do — especially on long holiday weekends. So, while Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer and all the less-than-eco-friendly activities and products that come with it — from single-use plastic at backyard barbeques and beach parties to store-bought sunscreens to trash bags packed with waste — that doesn’t mean you need to hit pause on being pro-planet.

In fact, you can still enthusiastically celebrate this weekend — which, after all, honors those who have fallen to protect this land and its people — while being green-minded. So, soak up the sun, grill with friends, and get into nature while taking a few eco-friendly steps to ensure your good times are also good for the planet. Why not enjoy the great outdoors the way Mother Nature intended with these sustainable ideas for the Memorial Day weekend?

Plant a tree for Memorial Day

If Memorial Day is important to you, commemorate a loved one or fallen hero by planting a tree in their honor. While planting a tree is already a sustainable act toward a healthier future, the best practice is to plant a native tree or a species that is well-suited to your local climate and ecosystem. 

Planting a tree serves as a lasting tribute, contributes to reforestation efforts, and helps combat climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. If you don’t have room in your yard to plant a tree, you can opt for native flowers to support local pollinators while still commemorating a loved one over Memorial Day Weekend.    

Plan a staycation 

Who says a vacation means you have to pack your bags and head off somewhere else? Not us. Instead, embrace the beauty of a staycation for an eco-friendly weekend with a low carbon footprint. You can enjoy day trips around your area by visiting parks, nature reserves, or hiking trails. If you want that extra vacation feel, go camping in your area to make the most of the long weekend. 

Bring homemade food, ingredients to make s’mores, and some games and activities to keep everyone entertained, and it will quickly feel like a mini-vacation away from home. If you are planning a vacation this summer, see our guide on planning a sustainable summer vacation. 

Host an eco-friendly BBQ  

One of the most popular things to do over Memorial Day Weekend is have a BBQ get-together with friends or family. If you’re hosting a Memorial Day BBQ or gathering in your backyard, prioritize eco-friendly practices over convenience to reduce waste and minimize environmental impact. This means choosing reusable plates, utensils, and cups instead of disposable options, and encouraging guests to bring their own reusable water bottles. Serve locally sourced, organic foods and beverages to support sustainable agriculture and reduce transportation emissions. 

We also recommend making a few other switches like choosing natural gas over coal for your grill, as gas produces half the amount of pollution. You can also set up a recycling point and compost to make your event as zero waste as possible. 

Go on a trash hunt 

If you want to feel productive and empowered while celebrating Memorial Day, get out in your local areas — parks, nature reserves, sidewalks — and pick up trash left behind or throw out car windows. You can organize a group to maximize your time and cover multiple areas in one day. 

This is a fantastic way to have a greener Memorial Day weekend while making a positive difference in your local community. Celebrate your efforts with a picnic in the park using locally made food served on reusable plates. Just remember to leave the area as you found it. 

Beach better 

If you are visiting a nearby beach this holiday weekend, make sure you are taking greener steps while soaking up the sun. This includes choosing natural reef-safe sunscreen that doesn’t harm aquatic life (unlike many store-bought brands), bringing reusable water bottles to the beach, and leaving everything as you found it. See our full guide on planning a sustainable beach vacation this summer. 

Reflect and remember 

Take time during Memorial Day weekend to reflect on the significance of the holiday and honor the memory of those who have served and sacrificed for their country. You can do this by visiting local memorials or attending commemorative ceremonies, for example. Alternatively, consider practicing mindfulness by journaling or enjoying a quiet moment in nature. Reflection can be highly beneficial toward living a more sustainable and fulfilling life. 


This Memorial Day weekend, celebrate in a way that honors the planet and pays tribute to the values of sustainability, service, and remembrance. Whether you’re planting a memorial tree or incorporating some of these eco-friendly tips, you’ll be on your way to enjoying a greener Memorial Day celebration! 


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