Sustainable and zero waste BBQs are on the rise. The weather is warming up and the days are getting longer. The best part about the Summer is being able to cook outdoors whenever you want. Whether you are looking to have a barbeque on your, a family BBQ or organising with friends, there is no better time than the Summer. However, a BBQ can have a big impact on the environment, due to its sheer nature of producing single use disposable items and contributing to air pollution.
To reduce your impact on the environment, below is a list of how to organise a sustainable barbeque this season that will result in zero waste and also have less of an impact on food miles, hence lowering air pollution.
Tip One: Sustainable BBQ Grill Options
It is amazing to see how the barbeque sector is rapidly changing. You can now purchase barbecue units that are efficient in fuel usage as well as being less wasteful. For a sustainable BBQ, the first thing you should do is ditch BBQ sets that end up in the rubbish bin as soon as they have been used. If you are a family, then there are several long-term barbeque grill options available to buy. If you are accustomed to using single use barbeques, then opt for one that is more sustainable, such as a small long term BBQ set or an instant eco barbeque set as pictured below.
The second step is to find smoke free bbq briquettes made for sustainable sources or opt for gas based barbecue grills. In addition, invest in reusable tools and skewers that will last for several years.
Tip Two: Meat Suggestions for a Sustainable BBQ
- Choose meats that have a lower impact on the environment such as turkey and chicken.
- Opt for organic or grass/pasture fed red meat. If affordability is an issue, then buy smaller portions than you normally would.
- If you love your red meat, reduce your food miles by choosing locally sourced meats that have not travelled hundreds of miles to get to you.
- Buy fish that has come from sustainable sources.
- Give alternatives such as plant based sausages and burgers a try.
- Take your own containers to the local butchers and ask them to pack the meat or fish in your containers.
Tip Three: Bulk up your Sustainable BBQ with Fruit and Veggies
Barbeques often feel incomplete without a vegetable present. To make a sustainable BBQ, bulk it up with vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, eggplants, courgettes and mushrooms. Grilled vegetables taste amazing. To really bring out the flavour in them, simple slice them up, add lots of olive oil, chop up fresh dill, sprinkle salt, pepper and squeeze some fresh lemon over them an hour before you grill the vegetables. You can also slice up an eggplant, marinate it with any seasoning and enjoy it as a plant based steak option.
When purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables, go for the unpacked option to reduce packaging waste. Alternatively, for ultra an low waste and sustainable BBQ, grow your own vegetables. April and May are the perfect times for starting a vegetable garden. You can grow a range of vegetables in the ground or in containers, which will be ready by mid-summer. For example, courgettes, peppers, baby potatoes and sweetcorn are ideal for barbeques. Growing your own vegetables will drastically reduce the food miles whilst also tasting much better than shop bought ingredients.
Tip Four: Choose to Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
Cans, glass and plastic bottles are all recyclable. Make sure you place the empty drinks bottles and cans in the recycling bin instead of the general waste bin.
Disposal plates and cutlery are often the easy option, but they generate a huge amount of waste. Purchase reusable plates that are lightweight and long lasting. These can be used for years to come. There are a range of plastic, as well as, bamboo plates that are suitable for using in the garden and taking to a picnic site.
Tip Five – Share the Love for a Zero Waste and Sustainable BBQ
If you are planning to organise a barbeque with family and friends, make them part of the organisation. You can do this by:
- Asking them to bring a dish or drinks. Make a list of foods and drinks you want at the barbeque and ask them to choose from the options. By doing so, you will ensure that you do not end up with too much of the same food or drink. Not only will sharing the food options reduce food waste, it will also save you time and money.
- Informing them that it is a zero waste barbeque. Therefore, all dish options should come in reusable containers, which they should take back. The Indian tiffin pictured above, is ideal for such occasions. The tiffin can be reused for school or office lunches during the working week.
Tip Six – The Aftermath, Clean up
As soon as the barbeque is over, soak the grill plates overnight (once cool enough to touch) in hot soapy water to reduce the amount of scrubbing and water you will need clean them later on. In the morning, you can use your conventional cleaning products to clean the grill.
Alternatively, try using an eco friendly method, such as, bicarbonate soda with lemon juice. Once you soak the grill overnight, most of the burnt food should slide away when you wash the grill, however, you can use a lemon instead of a sponge and bicarbonate soda to further scrub it.
Remove the grill from the water, wash away the excess food scaps and allow it to dry out a bit. Then cut a lemon in half, rub it across the grill and sprinkle with bicarbonate soda. Leave the soda on for at least 10 minutes and then use the lemon as a sponge to scrub the grill. You will need to wash the grill a couple of times more because bicarbonate soda does leave a white residue.
A Friendly Tip
During the BBQ, keep a soapy water filled bucket next to your barbeque unit. As you use the skewers and tools, place them directly in the bucket. By doing so, you will make it easier to scrub off any food remnants therefore making the clean-up less of a pain.
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