A backyard barbecue is a summer staple, and many of us will fire up the grill during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. But barbecues can also generate a huge amount of plastic waste.

With plastic pollution posing one of the greatest threats to the ocean and as we continue our Plastic Free July EcoChallenge, we encourage you to think of the ways you can host a plastic-free party this summer.

Even if you can’t eliminate all plastic, using some of these tips below will have a huge impact and earn you some points in the Plastic Free July EcoChallenge too!

Serve Plastic-Free Beverages

Avoid buying plastic bottles and opt for beverages in aluminum cans or glass bottles. Be sure to have a recycling bin available.

Ask your guests to bring their own reusable water bottles. Communicating your efforts to go plastic-free is a great way to encourage others to reduce their own use of plastic and consider the ways in which they too can protect the ocean.

Serve water in large pitchers or dispensers. You can infuse your water with cucumbers, lemons, or other fruit for not only a plastic-free alternative, but a delicious one too.

(Photo: iStock)

Replace plastic plates and utensils

Consider purchasing reusable, dishwasher-safe outdoor plates and cutlery. If you have a large crowd and want to avoid all the cleanup, look for disposable bamboo plates, napkins, and utensils. Bamboo products are a biodegradable, sustainable alternative to plastic products.

Lots of barbeque food and fresh drinks on a wooden table.
(Photo: iStock)

Change up your menu

Serve a fun menu of finger foods and hors d’oeuvres that completely avoids plates and utensils.

Prepare and serve food in reusable containers. If it’s a potluck, ask your guests to do the same.

When shopping for barbecue, avoid products that use unnecessary plastic packaging like individually wrapped burgers and cheese slices. Buy condiments in glass jars rather than plastic. Remember to bring reusable grocery and produce bags.

Skip the plastic decorations

Look for plastic alternatives whenever possible. Use paper decorations like paper tablecloths, banners, streamers, and confetti. Get creative by using plants, candles, and other reusable décor items instead. Skip the balloons too!

To learn more about reducing single-use plastic or to share what you are doing to protect the blue planet, join the Plastic Free July EcoChallenge here.