It’s time to pull out the aprons and spatulas – grilling season is here! With the Fourth of July coming up, everyone is thinking about the delicious flavors of a Summer barbecue. However, some eco-friendly folks may be worrying about the environmental impact a barbecue might have. Between the emissions from the grill and the mountain of paper and plastic goods, barbecues can be pretty bad for the environment. But, before you call all your neighbors and tell them the party’s canceled – read our guide to hosting an ECO-FRIENDLY BBQ!
ECO-FRIENDLY BBQ GRILLING
The first step of throwing an eco-friendly BBQ – the grill itself. A traditional charcoal grill can emit up to 11 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in just one grilling session! Use an electric or gas powered grill to reduce emissions. If you must use a charcoal grill, use lump coal instead of briquettes. Lump coal burns faster and more efficiently than briquettes and it has fewer additives. Another way you can help reduce your grill emissions is to keep the grill closed as much as possible, that way your food heats faster and you are burning for a shorter amount of time.
DITCH SINGLE USE PLASTICS
One huge step you can take to reducing the waste at your eco-friendly BBQ is to use real dishes, as opposed to paper or plastic. It is estimated that, since we started producing plastic, 8.3 billion metric tons have been produced. Unfortunately, 6.3 billion metric tons of that has become plastic waste. Single use plastics have a huge negative impact on our planet. We know your first thought is “but then I have to do more dishes!” but, we would argue that the extra time you spend washing the dishes will be well worth it to the environment.
Did you know it takes EIGHT gallons of water to make ONE paper plate? Meanwhile, running your dishwasher only uses about 6-10 gallons. You can even put out bus bins full of soapy water for your guests to set their dishes in – then all you have to do is rinse them off and put them in the dishwasher! If you’re worried about having enough dinnerware, you can always pick some up at your local thrift store. Then, you’ll have a set to use for entertaining again and again.
WHAT TO COOK AT AN ECO-FRIENDLY BBQ
Obviously the best thing, food-wise, you can do to reduce your barbecue’s carbon footprint is to go meatless. We know you’re shaking your head…but have you ever bitten into a perfectly grilled zucchini spear? Or corn on the cob? You’ll forget all about that hamburger, I promise! Eating a vegetarian meal once a week can save as much carbon emission as you would produce driving over 1,000 miles!
If you’re still skeptical, you can look into more sustainable meat options like chicken or fish. While creating one serving of beef emits about six pounds of carbon dioxide, chicken only emits a little over one pound. If you just gotta have that hamburger, try looking for local butchers who use more sustainable practices. Try to focus your side dishes on vegetables like grilled vegetable kebabs (with reusable kebab skewers, of course!). When it comes to being eco-friendly, every little bit counts.
Now that you’ve got the food covered, you’re going to need to think about drinks! If you’re following the tips in the previous sections, you already have reusable cups, so ditch the individual cans and bottles! Mix up large batch cocktails, lemonades, punches, and flavored waters in large reusable dispensers. If you do end up using canned or bottled drinks, make sure you put out a recycling bin and make your guests aware of what can and can’t be put in the recycling.
Once your eco-friendly BBQ is over, you may be tempted to just toss the leftovers. But, before you do consider this – food waste is a huge problem in the US. Some estimate that Americans throw away about 35 million tons of food per year! Instead of tossing it all, encourage your guests to take things home, and provide reusable containers for them to do so.
After reading our suggestions, you may feel a little overwhelmed! Taking care of our planet can be a lot of work, but you don’t have to jump in all at once. This Fourth of July, try one or two of our suggestions to make your carbon footprint just a little smaller.
Here at Creations in Cuisine Catering, we are always looking for ways to be more eco-friendly. We monitor water efficiency, waste reduction, and recycling procedures at our 10,000 square foot facility as well as all our off-premise events. Our team is constantly searching for and evaluating biodegradable and compost-able disposable items. We also look for energy efficient appliances, and environmentally friendly cleaning products for use in our daily operations.
Contact us today to see how we can make your event not only environmentally friendly, but truly unforgettable, with delicious food and excellent service. Imagine the possibilities!