Green BBQ Cheat Sheet


Planning a BBQ or picnic for the end of summer? Check out this cheat sheet for seven easy ways to green your event.

1. Put dirty items and liquids in the trash. Don’t put greasy items or anything containing liquids or food residue in the recycling. Help your guests by putting clear signs on your trash and recycling containers. For example, “Trash: Plates and Utensils” and “Recycling: Empty Bottles & Cans.”

2. Put clean glass bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard and containers made from plastics #1 and #2 in the recycling. At a party, beverage containers are the most common recyclable, and you can even redeem them for 5-10 cents each at a beverage container recycling center. Not sure if something is recyclable? Look it up in our Recycling Guide.

3. Put food waste in your green bin. If it can’t be saved for later, toss it in the compost. Meat, bones, dairy, fruits, veggies and grains can all go in the compost. Remember: Liquids, oils, grease and any non-food items are not allowed in the compost.

4. Share leftovers to prevent food waste. In your invitation, ask your guests to bring a food storage container so that they can bring home leftovers.

5. Plan your portions. Prevent food waste by tallying up how many guests you’re expecting, how long the event will be, and plan food portions accordingly. Here are some pointers:

  • Adults tend to eat one pound of food per meal, and children, half a pound.
  • If you’re serving only appetizers, folks will eat about 4-6 in their first hour, and 2-3 per hour after that.
  • If you’re serving a full meal, plan about 6-8 oz of meat per adult (a store-bought hamburger tends to run around 6 oz) in addition to side dishes.
  • A serving of pasta salad is about one cup per person. For baked beans, half a cup.
  • For light desserts like watermelon or cookies, plan two small servings per person, or 4 oz of a cake or pie.
  • For beverages, estimate two per person for the first hour, and one per hour after that.

6. Serve finger food. To cut down on plates, serve foods that don’t need them. A lot of classic summer fare is handheld, including hot dogs, sandwiches, skewers, corn on the cob, fresh vegetables and watermelon.

7. Skip disposables. Choose reusable plates, cups, utensils and napkins over disposable ones.