As temperatures rise and the sunlight stretches out into the evening, people are drawn outside to fire up the grill and enjoy a barbecue with family and friends. Traditional barbecues, especially for large groups, can create a lot of waste with trash cans and recycling bins overflowing before pickup day. Fortunately, there are many simple ways to reduce your trash output without sacrificing food and fun. Read on for some ideas for making your barbecue more sustainable!
- Provide reusable glasses for guests to use instead of paper or plastic cups. Use mason jars labeled with each guest’s name to add a fun and personalized touch. Consider setting up an area where people can decorate their own reusable glasses, especially if there are children attending. These can double as a gift to send home with guests.
- When paper plates have food residue, they can no longer be recycled. Single use plastic flatware and utensils are convenient, but cause a lot of waste. Consider alternatives including bamboo, reusable sets, or compostable materials instead.
- Put out reusable napkins and paper towels made from materials like cloth. These are easily cleaned in the laundry before the next use.
- Have clearly labeled and easily accessible containers out for trash and recycling to avoid litter and cross contamination, plus make clean up a breeze.
- Barbecues tend to create a lot of food waste when people overestimate how much they and their guests will eat. Have a set menu or ask people to choose their meal from options sent ahead of time so you know who wants what before you shop and cook. Suggest that guests bring their own reusable containers to bring home leftovers.
- Consider what type of grill you are using, especially if you are in the market for something new. Charcoal grills are often associated with summer barbecues, but are much more harmful to the environment. Electric grills are the most sustainable option, with gas grills as a decent alternative. Be conscious of the timing when you are cooking to avoid running the heat for the grill longer than necessary, and keep your lid closed as much as possible to reduce cooking time and the amount of smoke and chemicals put into the atmosphere.
Brazos Valley Trash and Recycling Services can help with your trash and recycling needs during any season. Contact us today for more information.