Friday, August 31, 2007

Day Sixty-Two - The Backyard Barbecue

Throwing an Eco-Friendly Labor Day Party

The end of summer is upon us and the weekend is here. Time for one last party before the kids head back to school and the leaves start to change color. Nothing says Labor Day quite like a backyard bash with friends and family. Here are some helpful tips to make your Labor Day Party a little more fun and a little less damaging to the environment.

  1. Don't Serve Beef - This is one of the biggest wastes of water and resources (more info here) you'll find at a BBQ. Opt out of traditional hamburgers and offer turkey, tofu or veggie burgers instead. Better yet, try grilling up some yummy turkey legs, BBQ chicken breasts or spiced shrimp.

  2. Use Real Dishes - Assuming you have grown-ups at your party who are capable of carrying around a real plate, then use them! If you can't bear the thought of washing all those dishes, as least try using corn-ware instead of plastic-ware (compostable, biodegradable, corn-based products .. check out this store for a big selection). I've sampled plates, cups and straws and they all work great!

  3. Buy Food in Bulk - This should be fresh in your mind anyhow, since I just posted about it yesterday. If ever there was a time to head over to Costco and get the 40 pound bag of tortilla chips, this is it!

  4. Buy Local Foods - Be sure to hit your farmers market before the bash to get the freshest local foods you can. Not only will they taste great, but they'll have put far fewer pollutants in the air compared to their cross-continental competition.

  5. Get a Keg - No sense wasting resources by buying lots of bottles and cans, when you can get a couple of refillable kegs (one regular, one light). No bags full of bottles to recycle, no worry about people throwing them in the trash, just two empty kegs to return and you're done. Bonus - you get to see which college buddies can still do keg-stands!

  6. Take Care of the Trash - Make it easy for guests to know where to put food scraps, corn-ware, recyclables and real trash by having separate trash cans set out for each. Be sure to label them all. This will make it much easier for you to compost and recycle later!

Most importantly, be safe. Don't let your guests drink and drive -- we need to keep all our ecologically-minded friends alive to help us fight the good fight. I hope you all have a great holiday weekend! I'll be taking some "posting time off" again to enjoy the weekend with my family. Have a very safe and happy Labor Day! See you all Tuesday!


gregra&gar said...

One of your best suggestions yet is to buy local foods, assuming you don't grow your own, for so many reasons it would take a full post. To break dependency on industrial, processed food to prevent factory and transportation energy waste and pollution is a strong one. Equally important is the relationship between allergies and lack of the local environment in our consumption. If our bodies were made more of local material the local pollen, etc would not trigger our immune system because it would no longer be considered alien to the system. The same as applies to newborns being breastfed by mothers whose diet is principally local food having less allergies in the early stages of life. Of course constant moving defeats this natural protection for the same reasons.

Along with your difficulty and savings calculations at the end of your posts, may I suggest listing health benefits, which may even get more attention than the savings. Rich people aren't near so interested in the trash left in the wake of their life as the trash they owned just before their wake, so they want to live longer for a higher tally of toys.

Why I Blog... said...

Oh, G&G, you're so right. Almost every change I make for the environment comes with WONDERFUL health benefits! The local food is also so much more flavorful. In addition to the local produce, I'm very lucky to live about 60 miles from the Chesapeake Bay and I've found a fabulous local fish shop that is keeping stocked up with lots of yummy seafood entrees (and recipes to boot). Thanks for the suggestion, it's an excellent idea!