If you haven’t fired up your barbecue yet this year, it’s almost certain you will this holiday weekend. Nearly 60 million Americans turn their grills on during the summer every year. Barbecues are one of the best ways to get friends and family together for a great day of food and fun and to spend time together. It probably hasn’t occurred to you, but do you know how to make your barbecue greener? The following are some tips on how to make your summer barbecues a little more environmentally friendly.
- Instead of using a charcoal grill, try using a gas or electric grill. Yes, charcoal grills give you the desired “smoky” flavour, but did you know it emits carbon monoxide and soot? If you can’t live without that charcoal grill, the stores do sell eco-friendly coals now. Lumped charcoal is made with hard wood, so it leaves less ash than briquettes. There are some charcoals that are FSC-Certified.
- Instead of using paper plates and utensils, use your own dishes. If you’d rather not do that, try finding biodegradable dinnerware. Manufacturers are beginning to make more eco-friendly products because the people are demanding it. They are also more pleasing to look at. Americans throw away more than 25 billion Styrofoam cups each year.
- Biodegradable garbage bags are also very easy to find. Most people don’t buy them because they think they are too expensive, but they really don’t cost much more than regular garbage bags. And it really is worth the few more cents for environmentally friendly products.
- Use a designated recycling bag or bin for paper, plastic, glass, etc. And make sure everyone knows which one is which.
- Instead of paper napkins, try using cloth. They are environmentally friendly and after the barbecue, you can put them in the laundry and you can use them for another barbecue.
- Barbecues always seemed to be all about the meat. Try serving green food. Serve some vegetables and make veggie burgers instead of hamburger, or veggie dogs. You can serve them as an alternative as some people don’t care much for that kind of “meat” Most stores now sell organic, free-range and grass-fed meat. You can also try the farmer’s market. Those are popping up everywhere. And for desert, find a local bakery. Keep business in your community.
- You can even serve your guests green drinks. Have pitchers of tap water instead of individual bottled water. Serve 2 litres of soda instead of cans. When serving alcoholic beverages, try finding local breweries, if you have those available. If you don’t, the local liquor store will work just as well. But try to find packaging that is a post-consumer product. Most are these days.
Hopefully these few tips will help you to have a green summer. Your friends may take the cue and do the same for their next barbecue. Have a safe and happy 4th of July!