Labor Day marks the official end of summer, which means traditionally, families and friends will gather all over the U.S. and Canada to celebrate the long weekend with outdoor BBQs, picnics, and cookouts.

With these joy-filled celebrations also comes a ton of extra trash and waste. However, there are ways to “have your cake and eat it too” or better yet, have your BBQ and recycle it, too.

Below are some ways you can have an earth friendly Labor Day without sacrificing your fun. Keep in mind that these tips are not just limited to Labor Day – they can be applied to any holiday or celebration.

Forgo the Disposables

Disposable dishware, plates, utensils, cups, napkins, and table covers are just a handful of common disposable products that can be found at any given Labor Day party. They are cheap and easy to throw away, but the consequences of this plastic waste are detrimental to the environment.

Instead of buying single-use, plastic products, invest in items that can be reused like table linens, cloth napkins, stainless steel utensils and straws, eco-friendly cooler bags, etc. Not only will you save money over time, but you'll feel better knowing that you're not contributing mounds of waste to the landfills each year.

Earth Friendly Grilling

According to Grist Magazine, the most eco-friendly way to grill is by using gas. Unlike using charcoal which releases toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, gas grills are much more earth friendly and release less carbon dioxide per hour. Electric grills can also be an excellent option as long as your energy comes from green sources such as hydro, wind, or solar.

Green Your Road Trip

Last year, the U.S. set a record for road travel of more than 3 trillion miles, according to The Federal Highway Administration. That's a lot of miles and a lot of air pollution! With gas cheaper than it's been in over a decade, it can be easy to abuse this luxury and just drive around aimlessly. But if your Labor Day weekend involves a road trip, try and keep it green.

For starters, map out your journey. This will help you determine the shortest route, saving you time and significantly reducing fuel emissions. If you're renting a car, see if you can request an energy efficient or electric vehicle. Nearly all major car rental companies offer hybrid models. And where possible, see if there's an opportunity to car pool. Oh, and don't forget to pack your snack and drinks for the road in reusable containers.

Do you have any earth friendly tips or tricks to add? If so, we'd love to hear from you in the comments below.