First man created fire. Then man learned to cook meat. Leap forward 2 million years. Today our BBQs create huge bags stuffed with plastic plates, cutlery, food and packaging, all sent to landfill. Hang on....are we going backwards??
Cutting back BBQ waste is easy with just a few simple changes:
- Disposable plates and cutlery - does anyone actually enjoy using these ? Just use the regular plates you have at home! If there aren’t enough, but you want to save grandma’s porcelain, 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
- Meat isn’t great for the environment. You probably know this from that time you stumbled into a debate with a vegan. To reduce the impact, ask your butcher or fishmonger for locally sourced produce, and bring it home in your own containers. Look online for simple marinade recipes. Add a bit of colour to the BBQ with some veggie kebabs. Use quality BBQ utensils and metal skewers that will last you many endless summers.
- Each year, Britons throw out 40% of the bagged salads they buy, along with 178 million plastic bags. Aside from the ridiculous waste impact, it’s fair to say nobody is getting excited about bagged salads. Search online for more exciting recipes – there are literally thousands - you can even prep the ingredients several days in advance.
Above: Ditch the cling film! Save leftovers with a cloth dish bowl cover instead
- Glass cups always looks the best, but if you’re worried about breakages, try stainless steel, just like what they use at Glastonbury. Husk or enamelware are other 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.)