With the weather heating up, barbecue season has officially begun. And while a little backyard grilling isn't going to ruin the environment, when 60 million people hit the BBQ at once--like they do on Fourth of July--the impacts can add up. To grill greener, try these tips:
- Opt for a cleaner-burning propane or electric grill over one powered by charcoal, which contributes more to poor air quality. If you've got time to spare, a solar oven or stove avoids emissions altogether.
- If you do use charcoal, look for lump brands (briquettes may contain coal dust or other additives as binders) made from invasive tree species or harvested from sustainably managed forests, and switch from lighter fluid, which releases smog-forming VOCs, to a chimney starter.
- Grill organic, hormone-free meat and mix it up with fish, veggies, even fruit.
- Minimize health risks (from carcinogenic substances that can form when meats are grilled or broiled at high temperature) by choosing lean meats and trimming fat before cooking.
- Set your picnic table with reusable dishware and silverware and cloth napkins. If that's not feasible, look for biodegradable or recycled-paper dinnerware, unbleached cups, and recycled-paper napkins.
- Clean up green with a natural cleaner like Orange Plus (made with orange oil) or SoyClean.