Every year, millions of Americans look forward to enjoying the warm weather with their friends and family. But al fresco entertaining can also lead to an increase in waste.
When you fire up the grill or hop in the pool this year, try giving your outdoor party an easy green makeover. After all, there's no better way to truly enjoy the outdoors than by taking the environment into account! With these simple tips, putting a little eco in your event only ups your summer fun.
It takes 1,916 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Cattle also produce enormous amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas that's almost 20 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.
Cutting your meat consumption in half will reduce your eco-impact and help you save money at the same time. Give guests hearty nonmeat alternatives, like portobello mushrooms or vegetarian hot dogs. Even if you serve guests burgers for the first round, it's easy to offer lighter fare for second servings.
For a nearly instant eco-change, skip the chemical grill cleaners and get a greener -- and tastier -- clean by rubbing an onion on the cooking surface after each grill session.
You can also switch to natural charcoal, which is designed to get hot faster than other products. Plus, the bag itself can be used to light the fire, which means less waste at the end of your event and no need for chemical lighters to get the flame burning bright. Up the green ante by using an eco-friendly grill, which doesn't produce ash or release chemicals into the air.
By upping the fun factor of your outdoor party, everyone will drink less, eat less and produce a lot less waste. So get your guests moving -- and not just to the beverage cooler. Keep them entertained with games, like badminton, bocce ball and croquet -- even a basketball or Frisbee can get everyone in the mood for play. Be sure you provide plenty of shade from the sun and keep lots of sunscreen on hand.
Serve Healthy Food
Take advantage of fresh summer fruits and vegetables and leave out the processed food, opting instead for real cheeses and whole-grain bread and crackers. Plan ahead, make foods that can be easily stored (again, less waste), and stock up on resealable BPH-free food containers to keep the leftovers fresh.
Reduce Your Trash
Plastic water bottles create a huge amount of unnecessary waste and they're expensive too. Rather than throwing money away on something you can get for free, fill a couple of 10-gallon water coolers and stock up on reusable plastic cups. Skip canned soda; it's loaded with sugar, anyway. Mix up some homemade lemonade or ice tea instead. You'll save your guests some calories -- and yourself some money.
While you're at it, try to avoid using other single-use items, like paper napkins and plates. Instead, buy a dozen washable cotton bandanas -- they're inexpensive and they add a little eco-friendly style to your picnic table. When you do use paper products, look for recycled and recyclable options. Remember, a little change can go a long way!
Emily Andersonis the author of Eco-chic Home, Eco-chic Weddings and When Changing a Lightbulb Just Isn't Enough. Her work has appeared in Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies' Home Journal, The New York Times and her blog, GoodWithStyle.com.
Investigators say an Algiers man shot and killed a masked robber who held him and his wife at gunpoint. The incident happened just before 10 p.m. Wednesday in the 1800 block of West Homestead Drive. Policemore>>
Investigators say an Algiers man shot and killed a masked gunman who attempted to rob him and his wife at their home.more>>
Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:10:07 GMT
The police chief for Gulf Shores along Alabama's coast is weighing-in on the actions of the law enforcement commander in charge of Ferguson, Missouri's in the wake of an escalating crisis brought on bymore>>
Gulf Shores Police Chief Ed Delmore wrote a blistering open letter to Captain Ronald S. Johnson, who was given command of law enforcement operations following days of looting and rioting in the city.more>>
Dashcam footage captures an amazingly acrobatic motorcycle accident. As a car switches lanes, a motorcyclist slams into the vehicle's rear bumper. The motorcyclists is launched into the air, flips andmore>>
Dashcam footage captures an amazingly acrobatic motorcycle accident.more>>
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Fox 8 WVUE-TV
Louisiana Media Company, LLC.
1025 S. Jefferson Davis Parkway
New Orleans, LA 70125