How to have a more sustainable BBQ
A BBQ is an unmissable summer event for many of us. But an afternoon of grilling in the sun can have a hidden, hefty environmental impact.
Many BBQs burn charcoal which is filled with chemicals, and emits carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. That's not to mention the habit of buying disposable BBQs and cutlery. Holding an eco-friendly BBQ is possible, you just need to know how. Here are our tips on how to have a more sustainable BBQ.
STEER CLEAR OF THROWAWAY BBQS
Those throwaway foil grills that burn charcoal already packed inside them? With plenty of reusable options now, we think it’s time to leave them behind.
If you're looking for a portable BBQ, invest in a smaller, foldable grill that can be used time and time again. If you're all about that back garden BBQ life, pellet grills are the most eco-friendly BBQ choice as they use biomass fuel made from recycled hardwood sawdust. Otherwise, consider a reusable handmade ceramic grill. They're less polluting to manufacture and will hold in heat more efficiently than metal
CHOOSE YOUR MATERIALS CAREFULLY
What you burn determines the quality of your BBQ. Although charcoal is often used, many charcoal sources have been linked to deforestation in developing countries. They're also usually packed with harmful chemicals like paraffin to help them burn better. Make sure any charcoal you use is certified carbon neutral and sustainably sourced. And while you might need to fork out more for better quality charcoal, it will burn for longer.
Make sure you choose wood-based firelighters and avoid petrol-based lighters, as these aren’t so good for the environment. And if you have an older BBQ that has seen better days, think about ditching the charcoal completely - upgrade to an electric-powered grill instead.
BE MINDFUL OF HOW YOU USE YOUR BBQ
Using a BBQ inefficiently can increase its energy and CO2 output. Keep the lid on your BBQ, and adjust its vents to keep heat and moisture in - which helps cook food more evenly too. If you're using a gas grill that instantly heats up, turn the gas off when you're not cooking anything.
Only put on as many firelighters or biomass pellets as you need to cook up your feast. If you find yourself with leftover fuel or space on the BBQ, what other food could you experiment with? How about grilling an easy dessert with some peaches or nectarines from your box?
AVOID SINGLE-USE ITEMS
Good minimal waste intentions can go out the window when it's BBQ time. BBQs are parties, sure, but there's no need to see single-use plastic cutlery, plates or cups on the table.
Use any supplies you already have at home, then make the switch to reusable cutlery. You could even keep a separate set for summer events. To avoid using more plastic (even if it is reusable) opt for bamboo cutlery, palm leaf plates and metal cups. Make your own snacks, dips and drinks to avoid any plastic packaging from the supermarket.
HOLD A VEG-ONLY BBQ
BBQs are usually considered a meaty affair, but fruit and veg are delicious served straight from the grill. Try out new recipes with the contents of your weekly box. If you’re looking for inspiration on what to serve at your BBQ, check out our guide on how to keep things low waste while serving easy but tasty dishes.
When you plan a BBQ without beef burgers or sausages, you'll reduce your carbon and water footprint. But you may also surprise a few of your meat-eater guests with how amazing grilled plant-based burgers and veggies can taste. Pro tip: As long as you're not using low-quality charcoal on your BBQ, cook your veggies on top of the grill in a roasting pan. This will send heat directly to them and make sure you get that signature BBQ smoky flavour.