The Green Barbecue

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With Memorial Day fast approaching, we are getting ready to enjoy summer picnics and barbecues.  As we commemorate those fallen soldiers on this special holiday, thoughts of how to make the world a better place come to mind.  Are there any ways to enjoy outdoor activities while minimizing our impact on the environment?  There’s actually a lot of simple and easy things we can do during our holiday celebrations!

Buying the food: opt for locally grown or organic food & beverages.  Now is the season to visit farmer’s markets and local farms for the freshest foods. Reusable shopping bags are great for holding a lot of goodies from the market.

Getting ready:  If you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, mow the lawn with a reel mower and clean the patio furniture, kitchen, and barbecue with natural cleaning products.  Non-toxic and biodegradable citrus-based cleaners are great grime and grease removers.

Bug-free zone:  To ward off mosquitoes, ticks, flies, gnats, and no-see-ums, use natural bug repellents and avoid those that contain DEET.  You can make your own from essential plant oils or purchase them online or at some retail stores.

Cooking:  Try something new and unusual like a pollution-free solar cooker.  Or, opt for a propane grill, which burns cleaner than wood or charcoal.  Keep in mind that charcoal grilling produces air pollution and cancer-causing compounds in meat.  If you must use a charcoal grill, opt for organic brands of natural briquettes.  Avoid conventional liquid fire starters as they are toxic petrochemicals that emit harmful volatile organic compounds.  Don’t forget to compost your kitchen scraps!

Setting the picnic table:  Use real tableware, or look for plates, bowls, cups, and utensils that are biodegradable, compostable, or made from recycled content.  Avoid petroleum-based plastic ware since it won’t biodegrade for centuries.  Soak up barbecue sauce with paper napkins made with recycled content, or better yet, with machine-washable cloth napkins.  Wash in cold water with natural laundry detergents, then air-dry outside on the clothesline or inside on a towel rack.

Walk it off:  A nature hike after a big meal will keep your energy up.

Cleaning up:  Pack up leftovers in reusable glass containers.  Don’t forget to Keep America Beautiful:  Recycle what you can and properly dispose of other refuse so that wildlife doesn’t ingest anything that may be harmful.

photo courtesy of Tony the misfit

Tag(s): Events, Food, The Great Green Outdoors

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