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Ten Tips to Green Your Summer Barbecue

What do you picture when you think about summer barbeques? If visions of greasy burgers, CO2-emitting charcoal and trash bags filled with disposable plates, napkins, and wasted food come to mind, here are some green tips to celebrate this seasonal milestone with respect for Mother Nature.

The centerpiece of any good BBQ is the grill, so invest in an eco-friendly one. What are your greenest options? Gas and charcoal versions both have their drawbacks: gas grills rely on non-renewable resources, while charcoal grills release carbon dioxide into the air. Although less conventional, a solar cooker is the greenest choice.

Keep the mosquitoes at bay naturally with citronella soy candles.

The arduous post-barbeque clean-up may tempt you to buy disposable plates and utensils, but that’s no excuse to be wasteful. Get your friends to help out with the mess and stick with reusable plates and utensils (if you must go the disposable route, try the eco-friendlier VerTerra).

Instead of tossing food scraps into the trash, compost them.

What’s the best solution for sticky BBQ fingers, besides licking them clean? A warm, moist cloth, of course. Besides the fact that they’re wasteful, disposable napkins aren’t quite up to the task at hand, anyways.

Recycle all bottles and cans.

Buy organic produce from your local farmers market.

Since the meat industry is responsible for nearly a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions, consider throwing a vegetarian barbeque. (Check out Sarah’s list of delicious meat alternatives.) If you can’t imagine a barbeque without burgers and chicken, make sure you’re grilling organic, local meat. (And wash down your grilled goodies with some organic beer.)

Decorate your table with placemats or a table runner made from organic, vintage or upcycled materials.

Don’t forget efficient, earth-friendly outdoor lighting.

By Tina McCarthy for EcoSalon