Greener Backyard Cookouts

Maybe it's because of being a Louisiana native, but I always tend to laugh when people lament Labor Day weekend as the last weekend of summer. Maybe it is, but we all know the warm weather lasts well into October, and sometimes November.

So while pumpkin spice is making its way back into everything, I think we've still got a few more weekends for backyard cookouts in us.

But as you gather your friends and family, don't create unnecessary waste in the name of a good barbecue or fish fry.

Many of the tailgate tips I shared on Tuesday can also apply to backyard cookouts.
Skip the styrofoam! A lot of meat comes prepackaged in styrofoam trays and plastic wrap, but see if your butcher or grocery store's meat counter will allow you to bring your own sealed container so you can avoid the extra trash.

As you shop for food, look to your local grocery stores, produce markets and farmer's markets for the best goods.

When it comes to dinnerware, your best bet is to simply go for lightweight, reusable melamine plates, bowls and utensils, which are great lightweight, unbreakable option, especially for children.

If you have a small gathering, just use your regular dinnerware and utensils. It's important to focus on the impact to the environment, not the instant.


If you want to go the disposable route, choose disposable plates/silverware that are made with recycled materials. Many grocery stores carry options with a recycled material percentage. Or go for compostable, plant-based or bagasse options!

Use cloth napkins instead of paper, and just throw them in the wash when the party is over. Supply koozies for your guests so they don't waste a ton of napkins to hold their drinks.

Go for reusable plastic, acrylic, or regular glassware for drinks.

Drink cans are recyclable, and glass bottles are not, so remember that when you're shopping for drink options.

Provide a pitcher of water as an alternative to bottled water. 

Yes, they're paper napkins...but the saying is on point!

Have a trash can and a recycling bin nearby for guests, and clearly mark what should go in the recycling bin.

Rinsed aluminum foil can be reused or recycled.

When it comes to types of grills, many barbecutionists have their preference between gas and charcoal. Both can have a negative environmental impact, but according to Grist, gas is overall better than charcoal. Kashi also has a comparison between gas, charcoal and electric.

So although we're transitioning from poolside to fireside, you can still enjoy a great backyard cookout without being harmful to the environment.


And if you're having a Labor Day cookout, holla at ya girl!

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