How to plan a low-emissions BBQ! 

If you think driving your car and buying an iced coffee in disposable plastic is your biggest vice this summer, think again!

Would you believe that a BBQ for four people emits more CO2 and greenhouse gases than a car driving 80 miles (1)? It’s true! Just imagine a typical BBQ scene: a large charcoal or propane grill filled with weenies and burgers, cheese melted on top and maybe some beef shish kabobs. Plastic bottles of condiments, bags of chips, paper plates and napkins.

A recent study found that a typical barbecue releases the equivalent of 200 balloons filled with CO2 for each person in attendance. Most of this is caused by meat emissions - as cattle produce large volumes of methane - and the process of cooking which produces CO2 (1).

This being said, don’t fret and cancel your next BBQ! Making the switch to plant-based meats and vegan sides will reduce that total of CO2 balloons to just 80. And there’s no need to compromise on flavour, whether you’re looking for a traditional burger replacement or curious about exploring more adventurous options.

Our favourite substitutes? It’s easy to swap out meat patties when there are so many choices! Black bean burgers, tofu burgers and beyond meat sausages and patties just to name a few. If you’re looking to get a bit more daring, we recommend trying out tempeh. Just make sure to give it a good marinade before grilling, and serve it with Marcello’s locally made BBQ sauce! Alternatively, why not ditch the “meat” altogether and load up on vegetables instead. You’d be surprised how satisfying a veggie kabob is when properly seasoned and grilled!

If you want to take it a step further, switch to an electric BBQ if your electricity is produced from zero-carbon emitting sources (which is overwhelmingly the case in Ontario (96%) (3) and Quebec (99%) (4)). An electric BBQ won’t release greenhouse gases and harmful toxins the way traditional charcoal BBQs will. It also heats up quicker and makes for a shorter cook time.

Top off your meal with locally made buns, bulk condiments and package-free chips to make for a completely waste-free experience.

So, next time a long weekend rolls around, remember you have options. If you lament about remembering to pack a reusable straw for that iced coffee, you should also consider a low emissions BBQ!

Annie Zryd

(1) https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/bbq-worse-environment-driving-fears-study-308715

(2) https://www.envirotech-online.com/news/environmental-laboratory/7/breaking-news/is-your-bbq-damaging-the-environment/49767

(3) https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/en/data-analysis/energy-markets/provincial-territorial-energy-profiles/provincial-territorial-energy-profiles-ontario.html

(4) https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/en/data-analysis/energy-markets/provincial-territorial-energy-profiles/provincial-territorial-energy-profiles-quebec.html

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