Summer BBQ Cheat Sheet

Planning a BBQ or picnic this summer? Check out this cheat sheet for five easy ways to green your event and reduce your footprint.

  1. Make recycling obvious. Put out a clearly marked recycling bin. Guests are more likely to recycle if visually prompted. If you compost, set out a clearly marked composting bin as well.
  1. Share leftovers to prevent food waste. In your invitation, tell your guests to bring Tupperware so that they can bring home leftovers. That way, you won’t end up with your leftovers spoiling before you can eat them all.
  1. Plan your portions. Prevent food waste by tallying up how many guests you’re expecting, how long the event will be, and plan food portions accordingly. Adults tend to eat one pound of food per meal, and children, half a pound. If you’re serving only appetizers, folks will eat about 4-6 in their first hour, and 2-3 per hour after that. If you’re serving a full meal, plan about 6-8 oz of meat per adult (a store-bought hamburger tends to run around 6 oz) in addition to side dishes. A serving of pasta salad is about one cup per person, baked beans, half a cup. For light desserts like watermelon or cookies, plan two small servings per person, or 4 oz of a cake or pie. For beverages, estimate two per person for the first hour, and one per hour after that.
  1. Serve finger food. To cut down on plates, serve foods that don’t need them. A lot of classic summer fare is handheld, including hot dogs, sandwiches, skewers, corn on the cob, fresh vegetables and watermelon.
  1. Skip disposables. Choose reusable plates, utensils and napkins over disposable ones. If you’re set on disposable, choose compostable and unbleached paper or bamboo products over plastic or styrofoam ones. If you want to use solo cups, you can either collect them for reuse, or invest in a more durable replica.