The Family Home Blog

How to Host an Eco-friendly Back Yard BBQ

Diane Hoffmaster

Summer is finally here and as the weather warms up, we start to spend more time outdoors. While going to the beach and digging in the garden are a lot of fun, one of my favorite ways to spend time outside is to grill out with friends and family. Cooking dinner on the grill and inviting neighbors over is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy the long summer days. There are a number of ways that you can host an eco-friendly BBQ this summer and I’ve included a few of my go-to tips below so you can start planning for your next backyard party!

1.    Grill more than meat: Less meat in our diet is a healthy way to reduce our carbon footprint and add some greens to our diet. Try grilling homemade pizza, vegetable kabobs, and even a fruit based dessert. Next time you’re out grocery shopping, expand your list beyond the hot dogs and hamburgers.

How to host an eco-friendly back yard bbq2.    Skip the disposable items: Yes, washing dishes can be a lot of work, but using paper and plastic dishes and silverware is not only expensive but also bad for the environment. Use glassware and re-usable plastic cups at your next backyard soiree for a classier look that doesn’t produce waste. To make clean-up less time-consuming, turn it into a group activity so everyone pitches in to help.

3.    Avoid single serving drinks: Beverages that come in disposable glass and plastic bottles result in a lot of waste. Invest in a large glass jug and fill it with homemade lemonade, iced tea or water with added fresh fruit. Use real glasses and an ice bucket and let your guests enjoy a waste-free drink!

4.    Choose LED bulbs to light up your yard: Spotlights, floodlights and other outdoor lighting options require a lot of energy. Replace those bulbs with energy saving LEDs for a smaller electric bill and a greener back yard party.

5.    Choose sustainable foods: Shop at your local farmers market for locally grown tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. Choose organic options, when available. Either way supporting local farmers is a great way to boost the sustainability of your BBQ party.

6.    Use real linens: Your tablecloth doesn't have to cost a fortune but finding a reusable one is better than throwing away a cheap plastic one. You can find inexpensive cloth napkins and tablecloths at a local thrift or dollar store.

7.    Choose the right BBQ essentials: Investing in sustainably harvested charcoal, recycled aluminum foil, biodegradable or paper straws, bamboo handled grilling tools, and other 'green' BBQ essentials are small ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your summer party as well.

What other “green” tips do you have for throwing an eco-friendly BBQ this summer?

Photo courtesy of Diane Hoffmaster.

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