How to Host a “Green” BBQ this Labor Day

Labor Day is this coming this Monday! Many of us honor the American labor movement and the end of the summer by getting together for a delicious BBQ, why not make it green?! A lot of people and a lot of food does not necessarily mean a lot of waste. There are many opportunities to make your get-together a green event. You can do so by minimizing your environmental impact through waste reduction and efficient energy use. Not only could you help our environment, but also save money and enjoy yummy food! So as you fire up the grill, here are some green tips on how to host a Labor Day BBQ that will reduce food waste, lower emissions, feed your friends, and save money!


Tips to Green Your BBQ

  1. Shop at home first. Check what foods you already have before going to the store. Have some veggies hiding in the drawer of your fridge, about to perish? Now is a great time to throw them on the grill or toss them into a salad and make the best use of them. To learn more about sell by and use by dates read Good Food is a Terrible Thing to Waste. 
  2. Buy seasonal, locally-sourced food. Celebrate the end of August with foods that are available fresh from where you are. Seasonal, local foods minimize carbon emissions associated with the transportation and preservation of food grown far away. Here are some seasonal foods you can buy locally right now:
    • Bell peppers, eggplant, squash, and zucchini: slice them up, add a bit of oil or vinegar and salt and pepper, and they are ready for the grill
    • Cucumbers: they make an awesome addition to pitchers of water or homemade cocktails, as well as a great salad component
    • Potatoes: get some fresh herbs and make a flavorful potato salad
    • Tomatoes: burger accompaniment and salad essential
    • Peaches, plums, and berries, oh my!: blackberries, raspberries, cherries, blueberries – great for salads, desserts, baked goods, or on their own
    • Melons: slice and serve, or make a sweet salad
    • Corn: a great treat for the end of summer, get it while it lasts!
  3. Use reusable dishware: Reduce waste and save on money by providing washable, reusable dishes. If you do have plastic dishware and utensils, remember you can always wash and reuse these too.
  4. Use pitchers for drinks: This is a nice way to reduce waste, plus, buying drinks in bulk is often cheaper than buying individually packaged drinks. Or make your own punch and avoid the plastic bottles altogether!
  5. Set up bins for recycling and composting: This will help reduce waste and make cleaning up that much easier, making these options available is often all it takes for a quick clean-up!
  6. Have your guests RSVP: Knowing how many people you’re feeding is essential to prevent overbuying and food waste, not to mention keeping party costs down!
  7. Close the hood of your grill when you cook: Keeping the hood closed allows for a thorough, uniform cooking and helps you save on energy.
  8. Have guests bring their own reusable dishware: They can take home the leftovers you won’t eat. This will make them happy and help you get rid of excess food effortlessly.

For further green tips check out these related blogs

Also visit the Seasonal Food Guide for more resources on the seasonality of foods, and look for free seasonal recipes here. Happy Labor Day!

By: Avery Cross, EcoFellow ’18

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