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Memorial Day Special: BBQing with sustainability

So I know Monday's posts are usually Finds, but since today is Memorial day, I figured that you all wouldn't mind a switcheroo. Look for the next finds post on Thursday. And today, I'm going to talk about making your Memorial day BBQ a sustainable party.

Getting Your Supplies

Italian sausagesThe first part of planning a party is collecting your party supplies. Most of the supplies for a BBQ are food items. You need meat to grill, as well as snacks and side dishes to supplement the meal.

charcoalBut if you are going to grill, you also need charcoal for the grill (if you have that type of grill). You also need plates, cups, and silverware: all the pieces that go along with eating outdoors.

beerYou also probably want drinks of some sort (whether alcoholic or not).

So all of these items can probably be found via dumpster diving, as we have found all of these at one time or another. My suggestion is to check out your dumpsters first, before you spend any money. But then again, I'm also super cheap.

Now, if you can't find the plates/cups/silverware in the dumpster, you will probably end up buying that stuff. For that, I suggest that you bring materials that won't break, but that you can bring home and wash. Like plastic plates, plastic cups, and forks, knives, and spoons that are not plastic and will therefore last longer. All of these items are reusable, but less breakable than what you would normally use at home. If you don't want the hassle of having the wash dishes when you get home or when your party ends, make sure to get paper products rather than styrofoam ones. Paper products can be composted, whereas styrofoam cannot go anywhere but the trash.

Make Memorial Day Sustainable

Now that you have your supplies, its time to have your party. As people eat, there will be food that they don't finish. They might be using paper products like paper plates and napkins. All of these items can be composted. To that end, I suggest that even if you don't normally compost, setting up a compost collection for your event will be extremely beneficial. With so much of your trash being compostable, this is the most important part of making your holiday sustainable.

recycling tote bagIt is also important to recycle as much of your waste as possible. While you may not have as much recyclable waste as compostable, you should recycle as much as you can. All of your drink bottles/cans should be recyclable. Many of your food containers will be recyclable.

And the best part: leftovers! I understand that once people have taken food onto their plates, if those people don't finish their food, you want to throw it out. But when you have food that isn't finished, don't throw it away! Save that food for another day.

And there you have it: I went through all three Rs. Reduce your use by using dumpster diving to find you materials and use reusable dishes and flatware rather than disposable materials. Reuse your dishes and save your leftovers. Recycle your trash and compost your foods and paper products.

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