Sustainable Summer: Grilling the Green Way

June 6, 2012 § 1 Comment

Summer is almost here, but already the weather makes it possible for my  summertime favorite: The barbecue. Me and my family love grilling, and barbecues with our friends and family are always a blast. However, you’d be amazed how horrible something like a Memorial Day or Fourth of July barbecue can be for the environment. Here’s some tips to help keep your grilling green:

  1. Beef and Corn on a Charcoal BBQ grill

    Beef and Corn on a Charcoal BBQ grill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Be Gassy. In terms of emissions, charcoal is probably one of the worst things you could burn in your grill. Consider instead natural gas or propane, which are significantly cleaner, though they are both still fossil fuels. (If you’re deciding between the two, natural gas is the cleaner option) Consider as well the type of grill you have. As previously stated, gas beats charcoal in terms of emissions, but a convection grill is more efficient with energy use an emissions, and an electric grill, which doesn’t emit much of anything, but has a higher energy usage. Want more info? Check this out.

  2. Put the Green Back in Grocer. Besides a grill, the other most important thing you need to have a barbecue is the food itself. When you go to the supermarket to get your supplies, think carefully about what you’re buying. Look for organic or pesticide-free vegetables, and free range, antibiotic-free meats, and try to buy locally. Farmers markets are a great  way to find good, clean, environmentally-friendly produce. Try a site like Local Harvest to find a market near you. If you can’t buy local, try to buy from North America, or the Western Hemisphere at least – the closer to home, the less effect the transport has on the environment.
  3. Make Meat a Maybe. Meat in general creates a lot of waste. It takes almost 2,000 gallons of water to produce just one pound of meat, and cows produce massive quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas much more dangerous than carbon dioxide. As a man of balance, I won’t tell you that you should give up meat entirely, but finding vegetarian alternatives, like portabella mushrooms, can do a lot to help the environment, and can have some pretty beneficial health effects as well.
  4. Consider the Containers. A great tip, which will help you monetarily and health-wise, while helping the environment as well is to consider making your own versions of things you normally buy from the store. There’s a high likelihood that you’ve already got the major ingredients for most rubs or sauces sitting around at home anyway, so why buy them? The containers that sauces and rubs tend to come in are often not very environmentally friendly. The same goes for frozen or canned vegetables – why not make them fresh? It’s better for you that way anyway.
  5. Compost the Crap. This last one is simple. Got onion peels? Watermelon rinds? Leftover veggies or fruit salad? Compost them. Even many of your paper plates, napkins, and certain brands of disposable tableware can be composted. Things you shouldn’t compost? Meat and bones. Bread is up for debate – compost at your own risk.

Want more info? Check out this site. It’s great.

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