Green backyard grilling

Tips for sustainable barbecuing

Summer nights mean backyard barbecues, family reunions and schmoozing under the moonlight, but more time spent outdoors with friends and heaping plates of food can also mean producing more trash and splurging on special food items and ingredients to please your guests. To make sure your food-filled summer events are as “green” as possible, consider these tips:

Buy food that is locally sourced. Reduce your carbon footprint by choosing meat and produce that are grown by local farmers and have not traveled long distances.

Resist foreign foods and products. That specialty meat or cheese might make the perfect appetizer, but shipping food by plane adds to global warming.

Buy organic foods and produce. Farmers who grow organic food do not use pesticides or other potentially harmful chemicals.

Avoid disposable plates and utensils. Use washable glass or plastic plates and bowls instead. If you have to use paper and plastic products, choose ones that are recyclable or compostable.

Choose sustainably sourced charcoal. Check labels and try to buy lump-wood charcoal instead of briquettes. Or, invest in a wood-burning barbecue.

Skip the lighter fluid. Use old newspaper and yard waste instead. Or, buy a charcoal chimney starter, an inexpensive gadget that will give you hot coals in 15 minutes.

Throw barbecue ash in the compost bin. Toss uncooked produce, egg shells and other compostable items in there, too!