If you really want to ruin your friends’ summer, tell them that their long, enjoyable, Saturday afternoon barbecue filled with delicious food, fun games and good laughs is destroying the environment. If instead you’d rather keep your friends through Labor Day, offer them these tips for keeping their summer BBQ’s environmentally friendly.
1. The Food: One of the most effective ways to live a greener life is to monitor one’s water consumption. You may not think about water being in what you eat, but think about this: It takes about 2,000 gallons of water to produce four half-pound hamburgers. So opt for chicken over beef, and vegetables over chicken. But if you do choose meat, get as much onto the grill as possible at one time. The more you can cook at once, the greener your grilling session will be.
2. The Grill: The good news is, you’ve already made an eco-friendly decision by heading outside to make a meal, as backyard grilling is more energy-efficient than pre-heating your indoor oven. Once it’s time to start cooking, opt for a natural gas grill. Charcoal and wood grills burn off particles of soot and dirt that pollute the air and can cause heart and lung problems, or make existing conditions worse. Plus, charcoal grills release twice as much carbon as a gas grill. If you absolutely must cook with charcoal, lump charcoal and a charcoal chimney is a greener choice than using briquettes or lighter fluid.
3. The Eating: Backyard barbecues often produce images of hot dogs stacked on Styrofoam plates, mustard covered paper napkins and lemonade spilling out of red, plastic cups. Upgrade your outdoor eating with reusable dishes, glasses and napkins and you’ll instantly take your meal to the green zone. And don’t forget to remind your guests to bring their own reusable containers for leftovers.
4. The Cleaning: Save your money and clean your grill with a paste made from baking soda and water—just make sure you scrub those grates right after you finish cooking. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to clean and the longer you’ll burn off the dried bits the next time you decide to fire up the grill. Click here for a few more tips on keeping your grill spick and span.