by Wendy Gabriel
GREEN TIP: When grilling during the summer (or any time) ensure that you are doing everything you can to green your BBQ!
According to Greenzer.com, on the Fourth of July alone, an estimated 60 million barbecues light up nationwide, consuming enough energy to power 20,000 households for an entire year. And this number doesn’t even take into account the waste of paper, plastic, and food that goes into barbecuing.
Here are Greenzer.com’s Top 5 Green Tips for Green Grilling
1. Green your grill
Conventional charcoal burns dirty and produces greenhouse gases. If you have a charcoal grill, look for organic or natural lump brands. Natural gas is the most energy-efficient; however, infrared grills are the greenest as they heat quickly, use the least energy, and use less gas than regular gas grills.
2. Avoid toxic materials
Grills made of cast iron or stainless steel are the safest because they remain non-toxic at any temperature. Watch out for models made from chrome-coated aluminum, which can become toxic if the aluminum oxidizes. Stay away from lighter fluids, which release VOCs into the air.
3. Stay size appropriate
Be sure your grill fits your needs—the larger the grill, the longer it takes to heat and the more energy it expends. When stocking up on supplies, be sure to know how much you need. Confirm how many people you are catering for in advance so you avoid wasting food.
4. Set an eco-friendly table
If you can’t use reusable dishware, cutlery or napkins, choose biodegradable, recycled , or unbleached picnicware. Fill your menu with greener options by choosing USDA certified organic or local grass-fed meat. If you’re a vegetarian, try certified organic soy hot dogs and burgers.
5. Keep it green when you clean
Keep your grill in top condition by scrubbing it down after use with an all-natural grill cleaner. If you serve bottled or canned refreshments, be sure to have recycling bins on hand. Have leftovers? Box them up in glass or stainless steel food storage containers.
My Green Side’s weekly web pick:
My Zero Waste
A wonderful site which encourages you to participate, share, learn and help the environment stay beautiful.
Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am every Wednesday at WDAY.com. UPDATE: Starting fall 2010, the segment will be moved to 1220pm (central).