Five Ways to Make Your Apartment Community Cookout Eco-Friendly
Summer is almost here and that means grilling season is upon us. Soon, the air will be filled with the aroma of fresh grilled meat, toasted buns, and sizzling vegetables.
However, it also means that your property trash bins will be stuffed with plastic cups and plates that end up in landfills for years. Additionally, gas and charcoal grills will sometimes emit toxic chemicals into the air and leave piles of ashy residue that must be discarded.
As a grill-loving Texan, it pains me to say this: traditional cookouts simply aren’t always environmentally friendly.
The good news is that apartment property owners and managers have the opportunity to be green heroes during the summer outdoor grilling and party season. Many manufacturers make or sell eco-friendly, sustainable products that can be the perfect complement to any outdoor event.
By outfitting common areas with environmentally-fit amenities, apartment communities can host eco-friendly barbecues while encouraging recycling and raising awareness of their own green efforts.
Here are five ways that apartment communities can host an eco-friendly cookout:
The grill is the Holy Grail of any outdoor party. Infrared grills are a great environmentally friendly option to traditional gas or charcoal grills because they use less energy by cooking meat and vegetables faster. For the more traditional (and cheaper) charcoal grilling, natural lump charcoal is another excellent option. Natural lump charcoal is a briquette that is produced from untreated wood and burns cleaner than traditional charcoal, which is made from chemically treated wood and other additives to prolong burning. It also leaves less residue for disposal.
CFL Bug Lights
When that outdoor event moves into the evening hours, compact fluorescent light (CFL) bug lights are great for keeping pesky flying critters away. Bugs generally don’t like to hang out around yellow lights, and CFL bulbs are a great, low-energy option to incandescent bulbs that are typical around the patio.
Initial installation costs of CFL bulbs are more than incandescent bulbs, but in the long run they are less expensive. A typical CFL bulb costs $5 and lasts 10,000 hours, compared to an incandescent bulb that costs 75 cents and lasts about 1,000 hours while consuming 3-4 times more energy.
Green Outdoor Furniture
Tables and chairs that make the patio or pool feel like home don’t have to be an environmental burden. Many companies are making or selling green outdoor furniture – chairs, benches, tables, and umbrellas – that is constructed from environmentally safe materials, either natural or recycled. Most natural furniture is made from wood or bamboo; recycled furniture is made from a number of materials that typically wind up in landfills. Recycled plastic furniture typically withstands outdoor elements and never needs repainting.
Green ice isn’t just a quirky St. Patty’s day idea, but for apartments that provide ice machines or refrigerators at the pool or in the club house, there are a number of ENERGY STAR® qualified products. ENERGY STAR® products can save about 15 percent in consumption and use 10 percent less water.
Every outdoor gathering can generate a lot of trash, including plastic and aluminum cans and bottles and paper dinnerware. Rather than providing a waste container, apartments can set out recycling bins. Decorative bins are available to help the recycling effort blend in with the style of the outdoor furnishings. This is a terrific way to promote any community-wide recycling programs.
Getting green in common areas is an option that will make your residents’ outdoor barbecue much more eco-friendly. How are you encouraging residents to be kinder to the environment during outdoor events?