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 approximately1220pm (central) every Wednesday at WDAY.com or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.
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.
- Grill with a gas or electric grill. Charcoal grills emit carbon monoxide and soot as it burns. If you do have a charcoal-burning grill, be sure to look for eco-friendly charcoal. Lump charcoal is made from hardwood and produces less ash than briquettes.
- Buy grills made of cast iron or stainless steel. 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 (volatile organic compounds) into the air.
- Use eco-friendly dinnerware and utensils. If you can’t use reusable dishware, cutlery or napkins, choose biodegradable, recycled , or unbleached picnicware.
- Use biodegradable garbage bags. People tend to shy away from these since they assume they are more expensive. But they really don’t cost much more than regular plastic bags! It’s worth spending a few more cents on your garbage bags than contributing to the plastic in the landfills.
- Have a designated recycling bin. Make sure everyone knows where they should put their recycling.
- Use cloth tablecloths & napkins. So much better than all of that paper! It’s much more eco-friendly to use cloth products; after the barbecue you can throw them in the laundry and they’re ready for your next big BBQ!
- Serve green food. Barbecues tend to be very meat focused. 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.
- Serve green drinks. Have pitchers of tap water instead of individual water bottles. If soda is necessary, get the big 2 liter bottles instead of individuals cans. For alcoholic drinks, it’s the greener choice to get your alcohol locally so it doesn’t travel as far, just like your food.
- Keep it green when you clean. Keep your grill in top condition by scrubbing it down after use with an all-natural grill cleaner.
My Green Side’s web pick of the week:
Global Stewards is a site that provides environmental tips and sustainable solutions for a healthy planet. Their goal is to provide environmental tips for sustainable living and information about exciting solutions that are speeding the shift toward a sustainable way of life.