A Summer BBQ That Mother Earth Would Love

Did you know that the average college student produces 640 pounds of solid waste each year, including 500 disposable cups and 320 pounds of paper?  Or that North Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour?  I’ve got a choice expletive for those statistics, but will settle with a G-rated “well gosh!”

With summer officially upon us, I’ve been looking for ways to cut down on my carbon footprint while still maximizing my fun.  Truthfully, I was expecting an uphill battle in achieving Green Goddess status, but to my surprise it’s not all that hard to live in peace with Mother Nature.

I’ve set up a bag for my recyclables right next to my trash can, I’ve cut 5 minutes out of my morning showers and I even started reusing Ziploc bags – easy breezy. And this week, I’m tackling something even bigger: the summer BBQ. I’m pretty sure my weekly Sunday Funday BBQs with my friends contribute about 90% of the plastic cups being tossed into dumpsters each year. Not to mention all the plastic bottles, paper plates and – gah! – who knows what’s in those hot dog remnants?

So I’ve made it my goal to to bring the summer BBQ and this fine planet together harmoniously this summer with The “Green” Barbecue. Fear not, loyal readers.  I’ve seen the (CFL) light and I’m here to share the essentials for an enlightened cookout.

1.  Disposable and Renewable Picnic Ware
Complete with plates, cups, and cutlery that can be thrown away (praise God, no dishes to wash!).  This highly evolved take on traditional “use ‘em and toss ‘em” dinnerware is developed from sugarcane and is therefore 100% compostable and biodegradable.  Now beer pong championships can be guilt-free!

2.  EcoSafe Trash Bags
Step one in having a green BBQ is actually collecting all the trash before it blows away. Step two is collecting it in a bag that is good to Mama Nature. Like the plates and cups above, these bags are not made from true plastic, but rather non-petroleum based ingredients.  They, too, are compostable and biodegradable.  Buy the big box and keep them around post-barbecue for all your everyday trash.

3.  Spicy Vegetarian Black Bean Burgers
In researching my new eco-conscious lifestyle, I’ve read that a lot of people have a beef with beef.  From funky hormone injections and the cruel treatment of cows to the beef industry’s harmful impact on the planet, I’m completely overwhelmed and actively seeking out tasty alternatives.  Cue the black bean veggie burger- totally tasty, far fewer calories than ground beef, and super simple to grill up.  Shop organic markets for the easy-to-find ingredients and you’ll be hitting a home run for the planet and your health.

4.  GOOP Organic Chicken Salad
Who doesn’t love Gwyneth Paltrow and her GOOPy moniker/newsletter?  The Queen of Green herself published a beyond-heavenly recipe for chicken salad using all natural, fresh ingredients.  A new spin on an old classic, you better make double because this delicious side won’t stay on plates long.

5.  Solar Powered Radio
This radio is rugged and ready to go in emergency situations so you’ll never drop the beat.  It’s completely solar-powered making batteries a thing of the past.  We all know how bad those double As are for the environment; have you seen the nasty stuff that oozes out of old ones?  That’s potentially going in your drinking water, people.  I know, sick.  Added bonus: this nifty device transforms into a flashlight and wireless phone charger, too!

6. Flamedisk Charcoal Replacement
When you go to light up that grill, give a second thought to using traditional charcoal and lighter fluid.  That stuff is to the planet as a KFC Double Down is to your heart.  The Flamedisk uses renewable ethanol, generating 90% fewer pollutants than charcoal.  Even the aluminum casing is recyclable!  This eco-friendly alternative is a staple for the Greenest of barbecues.

In Our Makeup Bag: NYX Girls Round Lipgloss in Whipped
In Our Makeup Bag: NYX Girls Round Lipgloss in Whipped
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