Photo by Declan Rex

Looking forward to the summer BBQing? I know I am! As fun (and delicious!) as a good BBQ with friends and family is, it is crucial that we pay attention to the impact we have on our planet by grilling our favorite foods. I have put together some tips on how to stay as eco-friendly as possible this summer, while still being able to enjoy a good BBQ.

1.       To start, consider what kind of grill you are using. A charcoal grill produces volatile organic compounds (VOC), carbon monoxide, and soot. These are all very harmful to the environment and will cause heart and lung problems for people! Gas grills are much better in terms of carbon emissions and the health of everyone. Electric grills are also a good choice, however make sure the energy comes from green sources (wind, solar, hydro), otherwise they have the potential to be just as bad or even worse than charcoal grills!!! That being said, if you love your charcoal grill, that’s ok. Try and use green lump coal instead of normal briquettes as this will decrease the carbon footprint.

2.       Another suggestion is to know your guest list, and make sure people RSVP! Nothing is worse than not knowing how many people are coming, and buying too much food just in case. This leads to waste, which is terrible for the environment. If there are leftovers, distribute them among your guests so that a minimal amount can be wasted.

3.       Everyone loves to barbeque MEAT. Juicy burgers, hot dogs, steaks, you name it! Well, meat creates a very large carbon and water footprint because of the methane produced by cattle, and the amount of water that it takes to make every patty. Be mindful of this when BBQing, and try to look for organic grass-fed meat instead. Prepare for the fact that organic grass-fed meat doesn’t maintain its moisture as well when grilling, by marinating it beforehand, and basting it as it cooks. Even better, try BBQing some vegetarian dishes!

4.       I know that using reusable dishes when hosting a large group is a real pain! No one wants to do that many dishes, and throwing them away seems SO much easier. However, your environment will thank you if you use reusable dishes. At the very least, use biodegradable dishes/cutlery instead of the plastic kind to reduce the carbon footprint.

5.       Cans are the worst! So many people provide cans of soft drinks instead of having jugs and cups. Having cans leads to people only drinking half, and then wasting the rest. Or, people will have several and then be forced to dispose of multiple cans. Buy the 2L jugs of pop, encourage your guests to write their names on a cup, and then use that same cup for the day. That way each person only has one thing to dispose of, and will only take what they actually want to drink.

6.       RECYCLE. Put a recycling bin right beside the garbage so that people put their disposable items in the right place that will save the environment.  

7.       Use natural products to clean up. Half an onion, or baking soda and water are great natural cleaners!


Happy barbequing everyone!!




Amber van den Broek
Amber van den Broek
520 Academy Rd Winnipeg MB R3N 2A8