Labor Day weekend is a great time for grilling. But did you know that firing up your outside burner actually can negatively impact the environment? Before you think that we just ruined your entire weekend … RELAX! We’ve got some tips to keep your cookout eco-friendly. You can breathe out now.
- Ditch the charcoal. While avid grillers may love charcoal, natural gas and propane are the most environmentally friendly ways to fuel your fire. According to Grist.org, charcoal (and wood) burn dirty and release soot particles in the air that can worsen chronic heart and lung problems. If you must use charcoal, Grist.org suggests the Rainforest Alliance Smartwood program’s certified Char-Broil products, including the mesquite and hickory wood chips. And when you are done using the charcoal, be sure to dispose of it carefully, as charcoal ash can be harmful to plants. You also may want to consider using hardwood lump charcoal that is started with a chimney device instead of commercial charcoal briquettes.
- Serve up sustainability. Cookouts usually are the time when we break out the disposable plates and utensils. Class it up a bit and use the metal utensils 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. If you must use disposable products, Kitchen Daily suggests trying those made of bamboo and corn that are biodegradable. And don’t forget about the beverages! Designate clear bags or bins for recycling cans or bottles.
- Compost your veggies. Instead of throwing out the scraps from your grilled corn or other veggie dishes, try composting them! The EPA has tips on how to do it at home, and many communities offer places to drop off your scraps for composting.
- Be kind to your grill. Harsh cleaners have lots of chemicals, and who wants that in their food? Kitchen Daily suggests using a baking soda paste and a wire brush to clean the grate before grilling. During the cookout, scrape the grill while it’s still hot to keep it clean for your next grill fest.
- Get a ‘green’ grill. No, we don’t mean you should run out and find yourself a green-colored grill. If you’re already practicing the above tips, you can take your cookout to the next level with an eco-friendly grill.