If you are planning for an event when the warm weather hits, the summertime screams out for a barbecue. And while this can be a brilliant way to have fun with friends, family, or co-workers, there is an aspect of barbecues that can put people off: The fact that they are not very environmentally friendly.
Wasted food is common, as is the use of disposable paper plates and plastic cups that end up in the rubbish bin. But barbecues don’t need to be this way. Here are six steps to help you throw an amazing and eco-friendly summer barbecue event.
If your event is going to be truly eco-friendly then you need to think about each aspect – and that includes the actual planning. For example, if you were considering sending out a beautiful printed paper invitation, this just gives off the wrong impression. No matter how pretty the invitation, it will likely end up in a bin (especially if it is not recyclable)...and your eco-friendly event will be generating waste before it has even started.
It’s needless, too. You can simply set up a Facebook event or send out email invitations. Both options are easier to track for the attendees and won’t cause any waste. You can also use an online ticketing site like Billetto.
One of the least eco-friendly aspects is the use of plastic cutlery, cups, plates, and bowls. Even a small-scale event can create a mountain of plastic that simply has to be thrown away as it cannot be recycled. So it is definitely worth looking into greener options for your supplies.
There is a huge range of options available, from fully biodegradable cups to paper napkins made from recycled materials. You can buy plates and cutlery made from a number of different materials, from bamboo and palm leaf tableware to plates created with natural wheat fibres that can be composted.
Of course, if you are going to be having a barbecue then the food can play a big part in your eco-friendliness. There are plenty of ways to buy food that is better for the environment. It’s a good idea to start by choosing a local shop - such as a butchers for your meat or grocers for your vegetables - rather than simply heading to the nearest supermarket to do all of your shopping.
You can also think outside the box and opt for more naturally eco-friendly options. Look into vegan BBQ food or less ecologically damaging meats – they can make for a fantastic alternative to classic summertime fare.
Just as there are many options with the food that you serve up at your barbecue, there are more eco-friendly possibilities with the drinks, too. For example, it’s easy to source local beers and even British-made wines rather than relying on imported products, which will typically have a much higher carbon footprint.
It’s also a good idea to look for organic soft drinks and juices, as these are eco-friendly options that your guests will love.
One of the real challenges at a barbecue is that of food wastage. We have all been in a position where we get to the end of the event and there is lots of food left over. It can be especially bad if the products you have purchased are in packaging that really isn’t suitable.
Once again, it just takes a little bit of forethought and planning ahead. You can choose products with smart packaging, such as resealable containers and bags with zip locks. This can help to ensure that none of your food goes to waste and can be reused later in the week.
Finally, remember that many guests at your event will want to do the right thing in terms of recycling and composting – but you need to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Have recycling bins that are clearly marked, as well as bags for compost, so that guests can ensure that nothing gets unnecessarily thrown away.
This is easy and quick to set up, and it means that you won’t undo the good work you have done through steps one to five. Happy barbecuing!
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