Barbeques are a favourite summer pastime for all Brits but one thing that a lot of people don’t realise is the fact that the fuel you use to light the flame is just as important as the food you serve. The weather has finally managed to reach some reasonable temperatures this week – even if it is a bit cloudy – and the bank holiday weekend’s only a few days’ away, meaning that a lot of people will be dusting off their barbeque and inviting a few friends round for a meaty outdoor feast.
If this sounds a little like your weekend plans and you want your food to taste the best it’s ever tasted then follow these tips to the perfect eco-friendly barbeque.
Avoid disposables:Building your own barbeque is much more eco-friendly than disposable barbeques because they can be used time and again. Disposable barbeques also give out a lot of carbon monoxide and carry on producing these harmful fumes until around twelve hours after the barbeque has gone out. Disposable barbeques burn charcoal – not the renewable kind – so it’s a dirty fuel that’s also unsustainable.If you choose to buy a BBQ that is a permanent feature of your garden then you have the choice of gas, electricity or charcoal as fuel. Gas is generally the preferred fuel – it is definitely favoured over electricity – although it can be difficult to choose between charcoal and gas. Charcoal obviously creates dirty air but it is, or can be, renewable if it is wood derived charcoal. Gas on the other hand – although much cleaner – uses non-renewable fossil fuels.
Sustainable charcoal: There’s never going to be a truly eco-friendly BBQ because all of the available fuels pollute the air in some way, however it is possible to buy charcoal that’s much less damaging to the environment. Sustainable charcoal has the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo and is available in most supermarkets; if you’re in Asda then all of their own branded charcoal should have the FSC logo, the same also applies in the Co-Op; in Morrisons however it is their own label ‘Instant Light’ you need to look for and in Waitrose the Big K brand.
- Food:Although the BBQ packs of burgers and sausages are great value, they’re not good for the environment and they’re not the best food either. Cheap burgers and sausages along with other cheap meats are produced using low grade meat that’s been factory farmed and water and additives have been added which means not only are the animals not reared humanely - The food that they produce isn’t that nice either.Serving meat that’s been locally raised means that not only will you be serving your guests some tasty food but it’s eco-friendly too because it hasn’t had to travel far to your plate.
Waste: Waste from food packaging is obviously inevitable although if you purchase your food from a local butcher or farm store the packaging will be minimal and is likely to be recyclable so there won’t be a lot of waste at all. However, because barbeques are supposed to be good quality convenience food a lot of people don’t want have to clean up afterwards and therefore opt for paper plates, napkins and plastic cutlery. In order to reduce the amount that you throw away, consider purchasing some colourful cloth napkins that can be easily washed and reused and use your real crockery and cutlery because they don’t take a lot of washing afterwards. Not only this but real plates are easier to eat off too.