What better way to enjoy a pleasant evening in your patio, backyard, or home with friends and family, and some good food?
It’s possible to have a memorable time while still being aware of your "carbon footprint," and you don't even need to go all out. Here are some simple tips to help reduce your eco-imprint. Remember, small things can go a long way!
If you believe in sending invitations to your get-togethers (and many people don't consider it too old-fashioned), there's no reason to waste paper (and trees) with so many eye-catching digital invitations available. Paperless invitations are a quick and easy way to get the word out. And to get timely responses.
You can also go less formal with a group text or online Facebook event group. Right off the bat, your get-together will already be greener!
Encourage Your Guests to Carpool, Bike, or Walk
You might consider encouraging guests to drive as little as possible to get together. Encourage carpooling. If it's not raining, your guests may consider biking/walking, if within a reasonable distance. Remember, the smaller the carbon footprint, the better.
There are several options to grill greener (e.g., propane, natural gas, electric). Greener grills are cleaner and burn more efficiently than grilling with charcoal and wood, and they leave behind less carbon waste.
If you're a die-hard fan of charcoal-grilled flavor, try all-natural charcoal rather than charcoal briquettes made with additives. Charcoal briquettes release significant amounts of carbon monoxide and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), while natural charcoal releases significantly less toxic materials.
Beef production is known to create significantly higher environmental emissions than do the production of chicken, fish, and vegetables. Consider a red-meatless cookout. Even getting into the habit of cooking up fewer burgers and more chicken patties can make a difference.
If going without beef isn't an option for you, be mindful of the meat you select. Look for beef options that include: organic, sustainably raised, free-range, grass-fed, etc. These types of meat are typically leaner than other meats. You may choose to support local beef and vegetable production, too, to keep profits in your community.
Reusable/Compostable Dishes and Utensils
Using disposable paperware, napkins, cups, and plasticware creates huge amounts of waste. But you don't have to get out the good china for a cookout, either. Instead of using one-use dishes and plasticware, consider using reusable or at least biodegradable plates and cups.
You don't have to use nice linens, either. Look in the store for paper napkins made from 100% recyclable materials.
If you like to serve adult beverages at your get-togethers, try serving organic and locally brewed beer at your next cookout or party.
Many local microbreweries produce seasonal, organic, small-batch beers, without toxic chemical emissions. You can reduce packaging and waste by buying your favorite local beer in a keg or pony keg, and by serving in reusable cups.
Homemade Soft Drinks
How about a party with fewer bottles and cans leftover afterwards (or none at all)?
Fresh lemonade: Add one cup of white sugar to 1 cup of water in a saucepan and simmer until sugar dissolves. Mix this syrup one cup of lemon juice and three cups of cold water, and serve over ice.
Sparkling sodas: Fruit juice (grape, apple, cranberry, etc.) mixed with sparkling water over ice. Sweeten with a little bit of honey.
Homemade sangria: Mix a bottle of Spanish wine with one cup of orange juice. Add sliced oranges, pineapple, grapes, and cherries. Let sit for at least four hours, then chill well before serving over ice.
Make recycling easier for everyone by putting out your recycle bin where guests can find it. There will end up being less recyclables in the trash.
Put out separate bins if necessary, for glass only, cans only, paper only, etc. If you compost, label bins for food scraps and other biodegradable items. Don't forget to use your natural charcoal ashes in your compost if you grill with charcoal.
Use Earth-friendly Bug Repellents and Bug Sprays
Dealing with pesky bugs during an outdoor cookout is just part of the experience. But you can effectively control bugs indoors and outdoors without using conventional, man-made pest control products. Many earth-friendly insecticide products are just as effective, if not more effective, than their conventional product counterparts. Try Maggie's Farm Home Bug Spray, Maggie's Farm Natural Insect Repellent, Maggie's Farm Yard Bug Spray, Maggie's Farm 3-in-1 Garden Spray, and Maggie's Farm Mosquito Fogger to see how effectively these products can help you control bugs, while being kind to Mother Earth.
As your get-together winds down, start boxing up leftovers in reusable containers to send home with guests.
Then, time for your grill clean-up. Clean your grill as soon as possible when it's still hot. The longer you wait to clean it, the harder it will be to clean off oil and grease. Grease, when left too long on a grill can become carcinogenic, and can take away from your food's taste.
Don’t worry about fancy grill cleaners and equipment. Even just baking soda works effectively. While your grill grate is still hot, dip a stiff wire brush into a container of baking soda and scrub the grate until it’s clean. Rinse and set aside to air dry.
Don't Forget About Your Plants!
Speaking of green living, don't forget about your plants! Plants can add a lovely earth-friendly ambiance to any get-together.
To help minimize the effects caused to your plants by weather, plant pests, and plant diseases, try an effective 3-in-1 plant-based garden spray to address pests, mites, and fungi. Look for a garden spray that you can use for organic gardening, indoors and outdoors, and that offers contact kill and residual repellency, without leaving behind harmful residues.
What are your go-to green living habits? We want to hear about them! Comment below!
We specialize in earth-friendly pest control products, but we're all about green living! For scientifically-tested, effective pest control in your yard that is friendly to the environment, try Maggie’s Farm pest control products. Our promise is that our plant and mineral-based products are developed by scientists and seasoned pest control professionals to be the most effective.