With the official start of summer and the Fourth of July right around the corner, barbecues are on everyone’s “must enjoy” list. But we know hosting a backyard get-together while keeping the environment in mind can be tricky. So, we want to help with party planning and make it easy, breezy for you — simply incorporate some of these eco tips and tricks the next time you have family and friends over.

Throw an Eco BBQ Bash

Recycle! Did you know over 75% of waste is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it? Or that Americans throw away 25,000,000 plastic bottles every single hour? Make it easy for your guests to help out by leaving color-coded trash, compost, and recycle bins (maybe even red, white, and blue!) within arms reach of eating and drinking areas.

Save double. Reduce the impact on the planet and your pocketbook by purchasing reusable tableware. This paperless option is surprisingly priced like disposable tableware, but can be reused (and reused) during your next soirée. For a more authentic look, head to your local resale store to mix and match some unique china and napkins for your event. Cloth napkins not only look more chic, but they also make for easy clean up — just toss in the washing machine after dessert. If washing dishes just isn’t for you, opt for purchasing biodegradable plates and napkins that won’t fill up your landfill.

Bottle It Up. Instead of providing single-serving water bottles, soda, and mixed drinks for your guests, invest in a few fun beverage dispensers. Doing so will help lessen the waste from unnecessary bottles and cans. Large mason jars, glass dispensers, and pitchers can be found for as little as $15 online!

Shop Local. Take a bike ride with the family to your local farmers’ market, so the kids can pick out their favorite fruits and veggies for the party. Avoiding pre-cut fruit from the grocery store will reduce unnecessary leftover waste from the packaging. If meat is on the menu, stop by the local butcher for high-quality options. Supporting your local community is always a plus.

Go Green Grilling

Grill Green. A barbecue definitely can be complete with no-grill and meatless dishes. But when you’re ready to fire things up, sustainable charcoal alternatives are a better bet. Because bamboo grows at such a fast rate, using bamboo charcoal doesn’t burn up resources and improves air pollution and deforestation. Green lump coal, which is 100% organic and free of fillers, nitrates, chemicals, anthracite coal, limestone, treated wood, or petroleum products, promises better tasting food free of harsh chemicals and odors. Even solar grilling may be a possibility in the future. (For more smart grilling tips, check out Christopher Gavigan’s summer safety guide).

Set the scene. When it comes to party decor, green is the new red, white, and blue. Invite your kids to repurpose items around the house when creating patriotic flair. Make a custom bunting banner by reusing fabric remnants, wrapping paper, or even summer catalogs. Create an easy mason jar centerpiece by painting the glass, grouping them together, and adding votives for nighttime light. Or add to the festivities with kid-friendly “no fire” sparklers and these DIY ideas.

Share your eco barbecue tips and tricks below!