✔ Use reusable or biodegradable plates and utensils.

If you can’t find those, at least go for products made from 100 percent recycled materials. Remember that your biodegradable plates will need to be cleaned before going in the compost bin — ketchup, hamburger grease and other-non-veggie food matter doesn’t compost.

Fill up pitchers of water, homemade lemonade and iced tea

instead of buying huge quantities of personalized beverage containers.

You’re likely to have beer and other individual-sized beverages in a cooler.

Encourage recycling by putting out easily identifiable bins— you’ll find fewer bottles and cans in the garbage.

Use gas, propane or electric grills, which aren’t perfect but burn more efficiently and cleaner than charcoal or wood. If you have a charcoal grill, make sure you burn natural lumps, not briquettes.

Grill locally grown veggies!

One of our guests brought gobs of locally grown asparagus that were the hit of the party. While local doesn’t necessarily mean organic, small farms are often more likely to be more sustainable and pesticide free.

Going vegetarian has been shown to be much better for the planet than eating meat.

But if you do eat meat—or your guests do— don’t compromise here. Spend the extra money to invest in organic, sustainably raised wieners and hamburgers.

Encourage walking, biking or carpooling to your party.

We live in a rural area, so it was impossible for everyone to come by foot, but we helped coordinate carpooling for our guests. Neighbors walked or biked over.

Don’t forget the little things.

Choosing organic condiments, reusable napkins instead of paper ones, e-vites versus mail invitations, homemade decorations over store-bought and other details will help round off the finishing touches of your green BBQ.

“Barbecuing is one percent inspiration, and ninetynine percent perspiration. – Thomas Edison”

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