Labor Day Holiday — Go Green

The intent of Labor Day holiday is to pay tribute to American workers and provide time for workers and their families to relax and have fun. Celebrate and go green.

History

Closed SignAccording to the U.S. Department of Labor, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

  • 1882 – the first Labor Day holiday was celebrated in New York City.
  • 1887 – Oregon became the first state to pass Labor Day holiday legislation. Other states soon followed.
  • 1894 – Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

Take the Day Off

Take the day off from work, relax, enjoy the day and be green.

  • If you can and want to, take the day off. Not commuting to work is probably the greenest thing you can do on Labor Day.
  • Walk, bike, ride public transportation, or carpool to a parade, carnival, or party.
  • Fill up a reusable water bottle and take it with you. Better yet, pack your own snacks in a reusable container.
  • Skip the lighter fluid and charcoal fumes and pollution by giving your barbecue the day off too.
  • Take a hike, walk to the park, try your hand at Frisbee or croquet, or just hang out in the backyard.

Labor Day Sales

At some point, American retailers determined that Labor Day represented an opportunity to sell more stuff and starting offering Labor Day sales. I’m torn on this topic. For retail workers looking forward to earning double or triple time, Labor Day sales seem to be a good thing. On the other hand, Labor Day sales present yet another opportunity to buy stuff we don’t need because it was on sale. Bottom line. If you don’t need anything, skip the sales and go green by not buying excess stuff.

Greening Festivities

From the beginning, Labor Day holiday included parades and festivals. Organizers have an opportunity to make their event greener and possibly save some money at the same time.

  • Save money and waste by skipping giveaway items on the parade route or at the festival. Flags, flyers, and novelties often end up as litter or are thrown away at the event venue.
  • Provide a variety of food and drink and include healthy and organic choices.
  • Use compostable wrappings, plates, cups, and utensils to serve food and drink.
  • Place recycle, compost, and landfill bins around the venue. Clearly, mark what goes in what container.
  • In lieu of “standard” carnival game prizes that are often thrown away at the venue or shortly thereafter, consider raffle tickets or chances to win upscale, long lasting, or green items.

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Author: Linda Poppenheimer

Linda researches and writes about environmental topics to share information, spark conversation, and convince people to take action to keep earth habitable for all. She believes our individual actions do matter—it all adds up.

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