Sustainable Barbecuing

Sustainable Barbecuing

In the Netherlands it already feels like summer this March. This past week we almost hit the 20 degrees Celcius mark. That being an effect of the climate crisis makes me anxious. However, the paradox is that this weather also makes me happy, I like sun. And I am not the only one. The past week I’ve even seen people barbecuing already. And even though I like a good vegan barbecue too, there’s usually something going wrong when people use the barbecue. That’s why today I want to tell you about sustainable barbecuing.

Vegan Barbecuing

The first and foremost thing you need to consider when barbecuing is the things you eat. Below I’ll tell you about the barbecueing proces itself, which is also important but not as important as the things you put on the barbecue. Only a vegan barbecue is a sustainable barbecue, since only a vegan diet is a sustainable diet. So the number one rule is barbecuing vegan. Want to know more about this? Here’s a post I wrote about the environmental reasons against meat consumption. Want to take it even further? Barbecue with rescued, local and/or organic vegan food. In this post I write more about how to make sustainable food choices in general and this is my favorite barbecue recipe. 


Then there’s the proces of barbecuing itself. Most people use charcoal when they barbecue, which they then burn. Basically, burning anything is bad for the environment and also for your health. This goes for candles, incenses, a fireplace and yes, the barbecue. One of the substances that is released when you barbecue is particulate matter. I don’t think I have to tell you that this is bad for both the environment and your health. Air pollution due to among others particulate matter kills 5 million people prematurely each year. In my opinion we should try to avoid that. 

Charcoal can be bought in the supermarket but most people don’t really know what it is and how it’s made. I’ll tell you. Charcoal is in fact a renewable resource, it’s made from wood. However, we should not be cutting down trees, since we are in the middle of a climate crisis. Cutting down forests and then burning them is the last thing we need. Did you know that wood and paper are responsible for 13% of deforestation globally? Charcoal is made by burning wood and then removing the oxygen almost entirely. It is usually done by poor communities in the global south and it is harming their health too. Some people use briquettes for barbecuing, but these are just the scraps of the charcoal making proces.

Sustainable Barbecueing

There’s basically only one alternative that is truly sustainable: electical barbecuing. If you own an electrical you don’t have to burn anything to barbecue and so there are no harmful substances released. But this is only the case when you use renewable energy for your barbecue. If not, coal or gas has to be burnt to create the energy, which leads to the problems we want to avoid here. 

If you don’t own an electrical barbecue right now, don’t go running off to the store to buy a new one. Buying new stuff is the worst thing we can do for the environment. I have written a guide on how to buy sustainable in 6 steps. Buying secondhand is a good option, but I think it’s ridiculous that so many people own a barbecue. I think it would be best if we’d all share more since a barbecue is not something we use everyday. 

Sustainable barbecuing, do you do it?

Yours sincerely,

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