Green your Heritage Day braai

Unofficially known as National Braai Day, Heritage Day is on Monday. But you knew that – and you’ve probably already planned to have a braai with some friends or family at some point over this long weekend. But have you considered ways that you could green your braai? We’d like to suggest a few minor adjustments that won’t spoil the fun, but will make it a little bit more eco-friendly.

Consider protein other than that chunk of steak.

Us South African’s are known to love our beef, but red meat is not the most eco-friendly choice of meat, nor the healthiest. We suggest rather braaing organic or free-range chicken, or try a fish braai (with your fish of course being a sustainably fished species – check the SASSI guide to make sure). Supplement your choice of protein with vegetables on the braai – veggie skewers, butternut or sweetcorn on the braai are simply delicious and beat a plain green salad hands down! Look online for some great ways to add veggies into the mix.

If the idea of braai without red meat is just too much for you, ensure that you purchase free-range/grass-fed beef – it’s healthier for you and means your beef was raised more ethically.

Gas it up.

While a gas braai might be deemed by some to be a non-traditional way of braaing, it emits less carbon than briquettes, is quicker and requires less cleaning up afterwards.

We do however understand if you need to make a fire and stand around it while it ‘gets ready’. In that case, we suggest you use natural coal instead of briquettes as this will reduce the amount of nasty chemicals and VOCs that your food is exposed to.

For those really old-school types that like a wood braai, try to purchase wood from felled alien invasive trees, or try to source wood briquettes.

Other options for the really adventurous include using bio-waste logs such as Envirologs or solar powered braais.

Keep it local and organic.

Make the decision to purchase all your fruits and veggies for the braai from local sources – your local farmers or organic market is best.

Choose local beverages as well – and if you can find organic or fair-trade versions of your favourite drink so much the better!  

Watch that waste.

Opt for cloth napkins instead of paper serviettes and use proper plates and cutlery instead of disposable plastic or paper options. Yes, it will mean that you have to do a bit of washing after everyone has left, but you will be reducing unnecessary waste heading to the landfill.

Also make sure you have an easily accessible bin/basket/container for your guests to put their empty drink cans and bottles in so that you can easily take it all to be recycled afterwards.


These are a but a few ideas to green your braai – let us know which ones you tried and how it worked out for you or if you have some other ideas, please share them in the comments below!

Happy braaing!

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