Cookouts are a great way to get out and enjoy the weather, but before you fire up the grill, think about enjoying the barbeque without leaving a carbon footprint. With minimal effort you can have an enjoyable eco-friendly, green cookout. Here are a few tips:
- Avoid lighter fluids and self-lighting charcoal. Instead use a charcoal chimney or an electric charcoal starter to get your fire going (see Charcoal Starters).
- Choose natural charcoals or lump charcoal made from furniture scraps and waste wood without additives and binders. They make a cleaner fire that not only reduces your pollution output but improve your grilling experience.
- Switch to gas. Gas grills are much more energy efficient than charcoal grills and produce far less pollutants.
- Switch to Natural Gas. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and burns much cleaner than propane grills.
- Reduce preheat times. Plan your cooking time to correspond to when your grill is ready and don’t leave you grill burning any longer than you need to.
- Clean your grill while it is still hot after you cook instead of increasing your preheating times. When the grill is cool use a mixture of water and baking soda to clean off the cooking grates.
- Clean out your grill regularly. Also, clean out grease drip trays under your grill.
- Serve iced tea, lemonade, and juices instead of sodas. Prepare beverages in recycled glass pitchers instead of plastic jugs.
- Plan ahead so you don’t have an abundance of food.
- Buy as much local and organic produce as possible.
- Trim excess fats from meat. Not only will this make your grilling healthier, reduce flare-ups, but also reduce the release of harmful chemicals from the air.
The Plates, Cups, Utensils and Napkins
- Use the metal utensils, cups, and ceramic plates you would normally use at an indoor dinner party. When it comes time to do the dishes, put your guests to work. It’s the least they can do for getting free grub.
- Substitute paper napkins with cloth ones preferably made from organic cotton.
- 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 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.
- Keep unwanted bugs away with all-natural soy citronella candles in recyclable tin containers or Big Dipper Wax Works offers all-natural citronella torches with a reusable bamboo base.
- Want to enjoy the great outdoors without offering your body as an open buffet to bugs? Get geraniol insect repelling wristbands. They repel bugs for up to 120 hours without having to spray on sticky or harmful chemicals.
- Rather than providing a waste container, set out recycling bins.
- Instead of throwing out the scraps from your grilled corn or other veggie dishes, try composting them!