By Revee Needham ‘18 (Environmental Studies major from Elko, MN)
With great weather in upstate New York this summer, everyone wants to barbecue. Here are some tips so that your meal is more environmentally friendly!
Bring Reusable Utensils Instead of one-time use plastic cups, plates, utensils, and tablecloths, use more durable materials that won’t end up in the landfill. If you must, choose compostable options, which you can buy in bulk from eco-products.
Fill up Pitchers Avoid water bottles and individual lemonades by serving homemade drinks. Provide a marker so guests can keep track of their cup instead of using multiple. (1)
Designate a Recycling Bin Set up your recycling bin next to your trash to make recycling easiest for everyone. Remind your guests to empty liquids from bottles and cans before recycling.
Choose Electric or Natural Gas Grills Charcoal, propane, and lighter fluids release more fossil fuels and chemicals than electric or natural gas grills. (2)
Pre-heat Wisely It only takes 5-10 minutes for most grills to warm up. You can save energy, money, and cut down on the amount of chemicals released by reducing your grilling time. (2)
Make In-Season Dishes Find out which vegetables and fruits are fit for grilling in the summer. This cuts down on the distance your produce needs to travel to arrive on your plate. Check out https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/nutrition-through-seasons/seasonal-produce to learn more.
Serve Vegetarian Dishes Meat requires much more water and fossil fuels to produce. Look up tasty meat-free dishes to offer for your guests. (1)
Encourage Friends to Walk or Bike Neighborhood events are easy for your guests to travel but you can also help coordinate a carpool if they are coming from further away.
Be Wary of Bug Sprays Avoid DEET repellents as they are toxic for you and the planet. (3) Look for products with picaridin or lemon eucalyptus oil to protect yourself. (4)