We look forward to summer BBQs all year round, but they can be wasteful. BBQs create huge bags stuffed with plastic plates, cutlery, food and packaging, all sent to landfill.
Luckily, it just takes a little bit of planning to cut back BBQ waste, with just a few simple changes:
- Disposable plates and cutlery - does anyone actually enjoy using these? Stick with the plates you have at home, and if you need extra, buy a few more from a charity store or borrow some from neighbours. Pick a few mismatched plates for a unique look. Don’t forget the linen napkins and tablecloths!
- Last August, Britons threw out a staggering £428 million worth of food from BBQs. To cut back food waste, plan carefully and keep the menu simple. Well-meaning guests might want to contribute, leaving you with something like 5 potato salads and 16 half-open dips rotting in the fridge. Tell your guests what to bring beforehand (hint: it’s probably vino!). Keep a few containers to send the left-overs home with your guests.
Above: Send home leftovers with your guests in Stainless steel containers
- Each year, Britons throw out 40% of the bagged salads they buy, along with 178 million plastic bags. Aside from the waste impact, it’s fair to say nobody is getting excited about bagged salads. Search online for more exciting recipes – you can even prep the ingredients several days in advance.
Above: Ditch the cling film! Save leftovers with stretchy silicone dish covers instead
- Glass cups always looks the best, but if you’re worried about breakages, try stainless steel, husk or enamelware alternatives. If you need straws, go for the glass, stainless steel or paper variety.
Above: Use stainless steel cups to prevent broken glass
- The average UK household uses 480 plastic bottles a year, but recycles only 270 of them. And the average UK householder does not enjoy dragging home heavy plastic bags full of soft drink bottles. How do we solve both problems? Make your own drinks at home! Check out our Shaken, Not Stirred guide for loads of ideas.
- If you can’t avoid the disposables, try to use compostable tableware. Just ensure they are the real deal. Many “compostable” or “biodegradable” products are only compostable in a special industrial compost facility – which London doesn’t have.
- That all sounds great. But what about the big clean-up? If you’re smart about it, guests will do a lot of the work for you without even noticing. Set out a bucket of water for plates and cutlery, a basket for the napkins and cloths, a recyclables bin, and a food/compost bin, and landfill bag (hopefully tiny). Your clean-up will be super easy, and your BBQ will leave no waste hangover (any other hangover is your own problem.)