Why calls for disposable BBQs to be banned are on the up following the recent heatwave

With disposable single-use barbecues under fire for being dangerous and unkind to the environment, travelling models are proving popular as a safer alternative

sausages cooking on a disposable BBQ
(Image credit: lleerogers/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Recent record-breaking temperatures in the UK and beyond are leading to further calls for disposable barbecues to be banned. 

Two UK supermarkets, Aldi and the Co-op, have already withdrawn them from sale as research suggests that they are to blame for a large number of the UK's accidental fires, as well as causing problems for wildlife.

You're unlikely to find a disposable BBQ on a list of the best BBQs you can buy, and with good reason. Disposable barbecues are already banned in Brighton and Hove on the south coast of England; the local council is using the threat of a £100 fine for anyone found using one in a public place.

This ban was imposed after a disposable barbecue was said to be the cause of a large fire at a Brighton refuse tip two years ago. There are similar restrictions in place in Bradford, west Yorkshire, after they’ve caused moorland fires, and a number of other places, including the Peak District and Dorset.

lit disposable BBQ on an area of grass

Disposable BBQs can quickly become a fire risk if not used correctly, particularly after a period of hot, dry weather

(Image credit: Animaflora/iStock/Getty Images Plis)

Why should disposable BBQs be banned?

'About four per cent [according to Home Office data] of accidental primary fires can be robustly linked to barbecue use,' says environment minister Victoria Prentis, but the true figure could be much higher.

'Disposable barbecues, if used correctly, do not, in themselves, pose a wildfire risk,' she adds. 

'It is when they are left unattended, or used recklessly, that the risk occurs. It is clear to me that we do not have enough data on the role that disposable barbecues play in wildfire incidents. 

'However, anecdotal evidence… suggests that they have been responsible for a number of serious incidents.'

cooking burgers on a portable BBQ

Portable BBQs, such as this mini suitcase-style BBQ from Annabel James, can be a safer alternative to disposable BBQs

(Image credit: Annabel James)

Pick up a portable BBQ instead

If you want to take a BBQ on a camping trip or a visit to the beach, the good news is there are plenty of portable charcoal or gas BBQs available that mean you don't have to resort to the disposable variety. 

The new portable barbecues come in a range of styles, from models which fold up into suitcases, to mini-versions of classic ranges from companies such as Weber, Napoleon Grills and Kamado. Look for lightweight and easy-to-clean models – you’ll presumably be miles from home – with wheels for easy transportation.

portable Weber Traveler BBQ outdoors in the countryside

The portable Weber Traveler BBQ folds down flat and will easily fit in the boot of a car for camping trips or picnics

(Image credit: Weber)

The benefits of a portable BBQ

'If you enjoy taking your barbecue on the road, we would definitely recommend investing in a portable grill, such as the Weber Traveler,' says Dan Cooper, head grill master at Weber. Here at Gardeningetc, we loved this foldable, travel-friendly option so much that we gave it a Gold rating in our Weber Traveler gas BBQ review

'There are many benefits to using a portable grill over a disposable one,' adds Dan. 'It’s more environmentally friendly as many disposables cannot be recycled, they can become a fire hazard if they’re not disposed of properly, and there is now restricted use on them in many locations throughout the UK.'

Will you be making the switch from a disposable BBQ to a more eco-friendly portable design this summer? 

red tabletop BBQ on an outdoor table

The Lotus Grill portable BBQ from Cuckooland is lightweight and easy to transport

(Image credit: Cuckooland)
Jayne Dowle
Freelance writer

Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.