Family enjoying eco-friendly BBQ

6 Tips for Hosting an Eco-Friendly BBQ

Healthy Planet  |  By

The weather is warming up, and many of us are eyeing up the BBQ sat in the shed. In the midst of the cost-of-living crisis, BBQs have become the UK’s number 1 at home leisure activity. Three out of four households now own some type of BBQ grill![1]

BBQs are a British staple for the summer, but they can also produce a lot of waste and carbon emissions. However, with a few tweaks, you can host a greener BBQ with minimal environmental impact and maximum flavour. So, here are 6 tips for hosting an eco-friendly BBQ.

1.     Choose Sustainable Ingredients

Start your eco-friendly BBQ journey by choosing locally sourced, organic, and seasonal ingredients. Produce that is in season reduces the carbon footprint associated with transporting it to you. With meat, consider buying from local farms and butchers that practice sustainable and humane farming methods rather than big supermarkets.

2.     Consider Going Vegetarian or Vegan

Consider making your BBQ meat-free or offer a variety of plant-based swaps. Proteins like tofu, or veggie burgers and sausages can be just as delicious as their meat counterparts and have a significantly lower environmental impact. The BBC Good Food Website has a list of 100 sumptuous and healthy BBQ recipes, including chunky Halloumi burgers and buttery corn on the cob. Having a more vegetarian or vegan diet can reduce the amount of land, water, oil and other resources you might consume and pollution you cause.[2]

Group of friends enjoying vegetarian BBQ Food

3.     Use Eco-Friendly Dinnerware

According to estimates, England uses 721m single-use plates per year and only 10% are recycled. In October 2023 a single use plastic ban was brought in by the government to try and be kinder to the environment.[3] Ditch the disposable plates, cups, and utensils and swap for reusable or biodegradable alternatives. The best way to do this is use the kitchen cutlery you already have. If you’d prefer reusable dinnerware, choose bamboo or compostable plates, such as the ranges from Eco Leaf Products. You can also choose wooden cutlery, and paper straws rather than plastic.

4.     Minimise Food Waste

In a recent study of the BBQ habits of the UK, a whopping 17% of people said they bin any leftovers.[4] Plan your menu carefully to avoid overbuying food and make sure you know how many kids, adults and vegetarians are coming. Set up bins for composting and recycling so your guests’ can dispose of their rubbish responsibly. Consider donating unopened and uncooked leftover food to your nearest food bank.

5.     Create a Zero-Waste Drinks Station

Set up a drinks station with large glass dispensers filled with homemade lemonade, iced tea, or fruit-infused water instead of individual plastic bottled drinks. Provide reusable cups, and consider offering local or organic beer and wine options to further reduce environmental impact. Make sure you have places people can put their empty aluminum cans and glass bottles to be recycled later.

Sustainable Drinks Station

6.     Use The Most Energy-Efficient Grilling Methods

Consider an electric or gas grill rather than charcoal or wood-fired ones. Gas grills give off fewer pollutants, and electric grills emit no direct emissions. Additionally, look for BBQs made from recycled or sustainable materials, such as stainless steel or cast iron.[5]

Keep the BBQ grill lid closed when cooking to retain heat and reduce cooking time. If you really want the charcoal taste, use natural lump charcoal or hardwood charcoal. This produces less ash and fewer emissions compared to traditional charcoal briquettes, which have chemicals added.[6]

Eco-Friendly BBQ

Hosting an eco-friendly BBQ doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive! By making simple swaps and mindful choices, you can significantly reduce the environmental footprint of your outdoor gatherings while still enjoying delicious food and good company.

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[4] The Great British BBQ Survey – Great British BBQ
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