barbecue

With the temperatures rising across the country, don’t escape the heat; enjoy it! It’s the perfect time to relax in a nice shady spot and light up your grill surrounded by family and friends. But before you do, consider an easy environmental “tune-up” for your usual barbecue. Did you know that on the 4th of July – just one day – we burn the equivalent of 2,300 acres of forest and release 225,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide? The good news is that it’s easy to reduce your party’s carbon footprint. So get out your skewers — and get cookin’!

Select your grill wisely. Charcoal and wood grills release chemicals and soot particles in the air, so it’s best to avoid them. Propane and electric grills burn cleaner, and although the upfront cost is higher, the price for fuel is much lower in the long run.

Already have a charcoal or wood grill? There are still ways to reduce your impact on the environment. For one, lose the lighter fluid, which contributes more to ground-level ozone, and opt for a chimney starter. If you’re using wood, select sustainably-grown hickory or mesquite, and for charcoal, choose lump coal instead of briquettes

Reconsider the plastic tableware. Instead, head to your cupboard and make use of your regular dishes, forks, and knives. Not only will you be consuming less, you’ll be saving money. Of course, sometimes this just isn’t feasible, but you can still save yourself the dirty dishes and save the environment by making use of biodegradable tableware products, such as this set from Branch Home.

Go lean. With meat, that is! Select a lean cut and trim any visible fat before throwing that organic, hormone-free steak on the grill. Dripping fat can cause excess smoke and flare-ups which can deposit carcinogens in your food. Also, mix it up by adding some fish, vegetables, and even fruit to the grill. Check out these 9 easy BBQ recipes to get your menu started.

When the party’s done, don’t forget to make your clean-up green, too, by recycling and using earth-friendly cleaning products.