With Canada Day and the Fourth of July coming up, and the first official day of summer last week (June 20th), thousands of beachgoers, pool partiers and sun-lovers are breaking out the grills, brews, lemonade and BBQ gear. Planning on throwing a backyard bash? Below, find some ways to keep it as eco-friendly as possible.
For many (we’re looking at you, macho men), grilling is more than a summer tradition; it’s a right of passage! The backyard BBQ is the quintessential summer pastime, not to mention the foundation of many a memory spent with the family or neighbors.
There’s just one catch: grilling improperly can be toxic, polluting, and even dangerous. Burning charcoal and/or wood can irritate lungs, allergies, and asthma and create smoke and smog. Buying the most energy-efficient equipment is one way to ensure that you’re grilling green.
Did you know that they make hybrid grills? Consider this equipment the Rolls Royce of green grilling. For a more economical option, electric grills may be the perfect choice. Electric grills release 99% less carbon monoxide and 91% less carbon dioxide than grilling with charcoal. Propane and gas also provide alternatives to the traditional charcoal grill. Do some research and read customer reviews online, keeping in mind that you want to find the most efficient and highest quality equipment, with the longest lifespan, in order to get the most bang for your buck.
Has anyone else noticed that grilled vegetables aren’t only healthy; they’re actually delicious too? Asparagus, peppers, portabella mushrooms, onions, squash and even corn are great healthy options. To step it up a notch, consider homegrown greens from a vegetable garden. If you’re feeling ambitious, check out our summertime gardening tips here.
For the meat-lovers out there, consider free range or organic meat. Beware, however, of labels claiming “natural” as the definition is more loose and arbitrary. To be sure, look for the Canada Organic Seal or the USDA Organic Seal. Not only are organic meats generally hormone/preservative free, you’ll notice a difference in taste and quality, too.
When it’s time to chow down, consider recycled paper plates and cups, and try to use metal utensils (instead of the plastic, disposable ones) that can be hand washed or cleaned in the dishwasher. Disposable napkins may be a necessary evil, but be cognizant of how many you grab at the end of the BBQ line – you probably don’t need an entire handful for your salad and hot dog.
For the adults:
Consider checking out these delicious organic beers. You’ll be sure to impress the neighbors with your creativity!
For the kids:
Show them “Life in Action”: the more kids see, touch, and experience, the more they respect life in all its forms. Create projects around the house to make nature part of your daily living: bird houses, bird feeders, lady bug houses.
Lastly, if you’re attending one of these summer shindigs in your neighborhood, chances are you’re only headed a few blocks away. Try to walk or make a family biking trip out of the occasion instead of hopping in the car. If you’re hosting the party, encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.
And with that, the BBQ is on! Time to fire up those grills. How do you ‘cue? If you’ve got any tips of your own, feel free to share with us on Just Energy Facebook.