With the three-day weekend just around the corner, many of us are rushing to prep for Fourth festivities. As you fire up the grill, keep these tips in mind for a more sustainable holiday.
1. Buy fresh & local.
Do you really need pre-shucked corn wrapped in plastic? Nope. Avoiding pre-packaged foods helps reduce waste a ton. You can go the extra mile by making sure your food doesn’t: Buy local! Farmers markets make it easy to purchase produce grown in your region, meaning less carbon was used to get it from the farm to your plate. In summer, the abundance of in-season fruits and vegetables will make your event healthy, colorful, and — above all — delicious.
2. Avoid tin and aluminum foil.
Many grillmasters rely on foil for easy cleanup and post-party storage. However, this single-use convenience requires scads of energy and resources for production and can sit in landfills for hundreds of years before it decomposes. Greener options include reusable cloths and covers for food storage and grill mats or cedar wraps for throwing a few shrimp on the barbie. More green alternatives for grilling.
3. Invest in reusable tableware.
It’s awfully tempting to buy paper or plastic plates so your guests can just toss them in the bin, but Mother Nature will thank you for investing in a longer-term solution. Opting for reusable means you can save money over time, and multi-use plates and utensils are generally heavier than their single-use counterparts, meaning they won’t easily blow off that picnic table you so carefully set. Opt for plates made of bamboo or stainless steel, which you can also repurpose for picnics, beach bashes, and camping trips.
4. Buy beverages in bulk.
Instead of individual-sized portions like cans or bottles, purchase a beer keg or boxed wine (whose quality has improved greatly in the last few years), which will cut down on packaging and save you some kale at the same time. Even sodas and juices are less expensive and more eco-friendly when purchased in larger containers.
5. Attend a public fireworks show.
Inflation has hit most every aspect of our lives this year, and fireworks are no exception, with some suppliers doubling their costs due to low supplies. You’ll get more literal bang for your buck by finding a pyrotechnics display hosted by a local town or park. Plus, one big display releases far less pollution and chemicals into the environment than multiple displays produced by all the attendees.
6. Remind guests to come prepared for leftovers.
Why no one gets as excited about next-day barbecue as they do about leftover Thanksgiving turkey and potatoes, we’ll never know. If you get your guests psyched for post-party takeaway with some deliciously ingenious recipes, you probably won’t even have to remind them to bring sustainable storage containers. Of course, any of our many insulated cooler bags would also help with the take-home haul.