It's not summer if you can't smell it: grill, smoke, corn on the cob and toasted marshmallows. Barbecuing is synonymous with summer for many people, but it does not have to be harmful to the planet.
We have made a quick guide to make your barbecue more sustainable without compromising on taste, vibe or anything else - so you can continue to love barbecuing as much as you love the planet.
Avoid disposable grills
It is easy, cheap and gets the job done (with varying results), but that is pretty much the only good thing we have to say about it. For the last couple of years, the disposable grill has played a main role when we going barbecuing in nature. After we have eaten the half-raw sausages and the burnt bread, and the grill has fulfilled its duty, what do we do with it? It is quite difficult to dispose of in an environmentally friendly way, and often it ends up directly in the rubbish bin or (even worse) left in nature.
The charcoal itself is neither good for the climate or your own health, and a Swedish study shows that the disposable grill emits between four and five times as much CO2 as a regular grill, primarily due to the aluminum tray. If you love spontaneous barbecuing in the park consider investing in a portable gas grill.
As mentioned earlier, coal itself is neither good for the climate or your own health. The smoke from the coal is not really the harmful part for us, but when we fry meat and the fat from the meat drips down over the glowing coal, the carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are formed in the smoke and they settle on the meat, which we end up consuming when we eat the meat. This can be avoided i.e. by using a drip tray that collects the fat, while avoiding a burnt black crust if you are inattentive for a moment.
In addition to being harmful to your health, coal is also the least sustainable in terms of greenhouse gasses. If we look at the charcoal grill over its entire life cycle, from the production of the grill itself and the coal, it turns out that the charcoal grill emits approximately 65 percent more CO2 than both electric and gas grills. Also, in the long run it will be cheaper for you to operate with both electricity or gas.
If you still prefer your barbecue made over charcoal, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you use FSC-labeled or PEFC-labeled charcoal, as the charcoal comes from a forest where it is ensured that the charcoal is produced from wood, which is cultivated sustainably for the benefit of both nature and the local community.
Eat in season and locally
Hmm local strawberries, local peas, local potatoes.. Just local foods in general, there’s just something special about it. Not just the taste is better, but the conscience and pride of eating foods produced in your home county. Summer is an obvious time of year to practice seasonal eating, and especially what the local area has to offer, saving transport from the long-haul route.
Greens over reds
You have probably already tried putting a few eggplant slices or halved peppers on the grill, as a way to eat more greens. The idea is good, but in practice it can simply be a boring experience IF IT IS NOT DONE PROPERLY! We have developed some recipes for delicious grilled greens, which can help you prioritise the space on the grill for the green, rather than the meat.
Meat - quality over quantity
Now that you have studied our greens recipes and are feeling keen on giving them centre stage, you won't have as much space for eating 8 hot dogs, two burgers and ribs. But fret not carnivore - this just means that the meat you do eat can be of better quality. You'll be doing your health and the planet a favour.
A warm recommendation is to grill a Hey Planet patty on the grill (preferably on a well-greased drip tray). Here you get a rich meat experience, and you will still be on good terms with the planet and your own health. Win, Win!
If you're not about to give up on the big juicy steak, but still want to be a friend of the planet, you can make it a rare occasion. When you finally treat yourself with that big fat steak, you can also choose the meat from the cow that has had a good life, even though it may be expensive. Then the experience becomes even richer.
Reduce and sort your waste
You have had a lovely day, played around, enjoyed the weather and got full of delicious planet-friendly good, and now it's time to pack up and go home. Before you can go, you have to clean up after yourself.
Think about how you can reduce the amount of waste: buy the food you need, bring reusable plastic plates and cutlery and cups.You may not have thought about how much of your waste from the barbecue is recyclable material. Plastic bottles can be turned into new bottles, leftover food into biogas and cans into new aluminium - remember to sort your trash and throw it out responsibly.