MNN food blogger Robin Shreeves wrote a great post yesterday about greening your Memorial Day BBQ that pretty much sums up everything you need to know about hosting a green outdoor gathering. So why not get your friends and neighbors together and celebrate the start to summer with a party? Here are a few more tips to make sure that your get-together is easy on the planet.

Green grilling: If you need to buy a new grill for the occassion, choose propane over charcoal. Charcoal releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when burned as well as over 100 times more carbon monoxide than propane. And the traditional lighter fluids used on charcoal grills are also fairly nasty for the planet. If you do grill with charcoal, you can reduce it’s eco-impact by purchasing briquettes made locally from sustainable and recycled wood scraps (try Wicked Good Charcoal or Cowboy Charcoal) or you may even want to make your own charcoal. And skip the lighter fluid altogether.  

Green grub: Choose local or organic foods whenever possible. Shop for fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products at your local farmers market. And don’t be afraid to experiment with vegetarian selections such as grilled tofu, vegetable kabobs, soy dogs or veggie burgers to reduce the meal’s environmental footprint.  

Green games: Summer BBQs are all about relaxed, outdoor fun, so leave the battery operated toys behind and make sure you have plenty of balls, Frisbees, hula hoops, butterfly nets, buckets and bubbles (make your own with 1/2 cup eco-friendly dish soap, 1 1/4 cup water, and 2 tsp sugar) for kids to play with.

Oh, and don’t overlook the obvious … one of the best ways to host an eco-friendly barbecue is to make sure you’re not wasting electricity inside while the whole family is outside. Turn off all the unnecessary lights and appliances in your home before you head out the door!

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