featured blog post

the best ways to repurpose your fourth of july bbq

ideas for minimizing waste and spreading goodwill

With the nation's 239th birthday celebration complete and friends and family on their way home, one question remains: what to do with all the leftovers from your feast? AARP is an strong advocate of giving back, so before you toss out your leftovers, and here are some creative ways to curb the waste and repurpose them.

1. Remix Your Breakfast 

There are few bigger wastes after a BBQ than buns and hot dogs. Hot dogs are sold in packages of ten and buns are sold in packages of six or eight—why? The world may never know. No matter how hard you try, you always end up with extras of one or the other. 

To save leftover franks, try chopping them up and tossing them into an omelet. Freeze for later or use leftover hot dog buns as a substitute in many recipes like the baked apple cinnamon french toast recipe found on AARP.org. It’s a simple way to avoid waste, and spices up breakfast to serve to Independence Day guests who might be staying past the weekend. 

2. Give a Little

Round out your patriotic festivities with a little community service. Peruse your cupboard to pick out all of the extra canned goods that you didn't use at your barbecue and donate them. Food pantries receive many donations around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but they need them year-round. Find your local food bank on FoodPantries.org and take a few cans over today.

3. Let it Grow

If you have a garden of any kind, this suggestion is for you. If you don't, maybe it's a good time to start! The EPA attributes many benefits to composting, but natural soil enrichment tops the list. The foundations of a good compost pile, according to Planet Natural, call for grass clippings and direct sunlight, but some of the scraps from your Independence Day feast can qualify as well. Just follow one rule: avoid meat wastes. Think about adding your extra buns, pickles, and potato skins as your starters. Corn cobs and husks are great too because they break down very slowly.

Just remember to compost responsibly by checking your local Waste Management guidelines about composting. 

4. Spruce Up Your Salad

If all else fails and you just want a simple solution for your leftovers, just make some croutons from your leftover whole wheat buns. AARP Recipes has a healthy and delicious recipe for homemade croutons. With this recipe, you can even experiment a little and create your own flavors. The possibilities are endless. And now, you have more reason to eat salads for a week or so!

AARP always encourages volunteering among its members. There are many ways to give back, and through Create the Good, members can find volunteer opportunities in their communities. Even if your leftovers are beyond salvaging this year, find another way to contribute to your community this summer!