How bad is your summer BBQ for the environment? Sizzling stats reveal the shocking carbon footprint of Britain’s BBQing habits

May 2, 2024
6 min read

We’re officially heading into outdoor dining season, with alfresco BBQ cooking on the horizon. And, it’s not just the traditional barbecue Brits are going wild for this summer, but pizza ovens too. However, did you know that the average summer outdoor cooking sessions produce the same amount of CO2 as flying to Paris? 

Our renewable energy experts at Green Building Renewables have discovered the shocking number of emissions sending our summer BBQs up in smoke, as well as this year’s most popular garden trend which isn’t so popular with the environment.

Britain’s summer BBQs are producing millions of tonnes of CO2 every summer – the equivalent of 261 rocket launches

An image showing how Britain's BBQ habits can be compared to other CO2 emissions.

We discovered Britain held a whopping 189.9 million BBQs in 2020, and the coronavirus pandemic was responsible for the huge increase in BBQs that year. Through further research, we calculated the CO2 released from coal BBQs per average household. The average British household consists of three people, and if beef is chosen as the meat for a coal BBQ, it would produce 17.4kg of CO2.

To caveat this, not all households ate beef on their BBQs. Many will have opted for chicken, vegetarian or even vegan options. However beef is the most popular BBQ food in the UK, so we used this as our meat of choice to form the basis for our average calculations. 

This means that for the average barbecue in Britain feeding 3 people using beef ingredients in 2020, Britain produced a staggering 3,304,260 tonnes of CO2 from BBQs alone.  

That is equivalent to the CO2 produced from 261 rocket launches. 

A recent study found that in the first stage of a rocket launch, around 116 tons of CO2 was emitted in the first 165 seconds. In comparison, all the BBQs we had in 2020 produced 3,304,260 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of 261 rocket launches into space.

Our further research has found that the emissions from the top 10 celebrity jet users produced 49,242.96 tonnes of CO2 in 2022. The sheer amount of CO2 our BBQs produce is equivalent to celebrity jet emissions for the next 67 years. Taylor Swift’s jet can continue to be used at the same rate well into her 90s without having the same environmental impact as Britain’s BBQs. 

Cruise ships are one of the worst methods of travel for polluting our environment with the amount of CO2 they produce. There were 31.7 million cruise ship passengers in 2023, and a study revealed that one passenger on a 5-night cruise emits on average the equivalent of  500 kg of CO2. This calculation is based on the most efficient cruise liners. 

Taking this figure, based on the number of passengers who travelled on cruises in 2023, cruise ship passengers were responsible for producing 15,850,000 tonnes of CO2 in one year. Britain’s BBQs made up the equivalent of 21% of total cruise ship CO2 production.

Energy experts predict BBQ emissions in 2024 to hit 2.9 million tonnes of CO2

If the average household held six BBQs this summer, that single household would emit 104.4kg of CO2. This is more carbon than one person would produce flying from London to Paris, producing 92 kg of CO2. There are 28.2 million households in the UK, so if we take the average 3-person household having six BBQs this summer we will produce 2,943,280 tonnes of CO2

Our research found that 71% of Brits say that they enjoy barbecuing as often as possible, and while this is great for a get-together, it’s not so great for our planet. With billions of kilograms of CO2 produced yearly during Britain’s barbecuing season, we must find more sustainable solutions for our al fresco escapades.

An image showing how pizza ovens could overtake BBQs as the next big garden trend.

Outdoor cooking is the Summer’s biggest trend with UK homeowners, and Pinterest has seen a 600% increase in searches for ‘outdoor grill station’ as Britain readies itself for a summer of outdoor cooking. Pizza ovens are the latest garden trend to sweep across Instagram and TikTok, taking homeowners by storm and, inevitably, cooking up their own. With 60,500 Google searches in the UK alone last month and 502,000 hashtags on Instagram, homeowners are sharing images of their pizza stations across social media platforms cementing their place as the biggest garden trend set to hit Britain this summer.

They are a great way for homeowners to ramp up their BBQ offering and are naturally much less carbon-intensive than BBQs due to being powered by different energy sources such as wood pellets. Wood-fired pizza ovens are better for the environment than barbecuing, however, it’s vital to note that burning wood can produce carbon which is still harmful to the environment. 

One study explained that the carbon output of a pizza oven can be up to 15.6 grams an hour. Using the same averages as we did to calculate the CO2 produced by barbecuing for 2024, we can calculate that if the average household had 6 outdoor cooking sessions with a pizza oven this summer, this would produce 93.6 grams of CO2. That’s 104.4 kilograms of CO2 less than the average summer barbecuing session- a 99% decrease.

If you are interested in making a renewable switch to your lifestyle at a commercial or domestic property, contact our experts to see how you can lower your carbon footprint today.


We found that 71% of Brits enjoy barbecuing as often as possible during desk research from YouGov.  

We then used the BBQ emission calculations courtesy of the University of Sheffield and calculated the figure for a 3-person household. 

The number of barbecue cookings held annually in the UK between 2016 to 2020 data by Statista

Pizza oven CO2 calculations were done based on the amount of CO2 produced per hour, and the same figures were used to calculate the prediction of emissions from BBQs this summer. 

Keyword research was collated using SE Ranking.

Written By:

john gilham technical manager
John Gilham
When it comes to renewables, our Group Technical Manager, John Gilham is a big deal! Both metaphorically and literally speaking; his massive knowledge about all things renewable and low energy is matched by his physical presence. In 2016, John co-founded GoEco Renewables with our MD Chris Delaney, which marked a pivotal moment in his career. The move reflected his commitment to sustainable energy and positioned him as a leader in the industry. Want to know more about John then click here: Read More

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