Green Grillin’

Some chicken, pork and corn in the barbeque

Image via Wikipedia

Well the 4th of July has come and gone but there are still plenty of days left for summer BBQ’s.  But is it possible to grill and still be green?

According to, 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 is 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 picnic ware.
  • 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.  Use wild caught fish or sustainably certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.
  • 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.  You might try one of the many organic wines on the market.
  • Keep it green when you clean. Keep your grill in top condition by scrubbing it down after use with an all-natural grill cleaner.


About craigruark

Craig A. Ruark is a freelance writer, journalist, and marketing and PR professional. In 2008, Craig became one of the first non-technical persons to become an Accredited Professional by the U.S. Green Building Council for ‘Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design” (LEED AP). Over the years he has immersed himself in the subject of “sustainability” and by combining this knowledge with his expertise in marketing and advertising, has published a book titled “Marketing Your Green Side,” which is available through Amazon. Craig is an avid fitness participant, sailor, SCUBA diver, enjoys singing Karaoke, listening to jazz, and is working on his next book.
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1 Response to Green Grillin’

  1. Anna Peltier says:

    Nice post Craig. For a great all natural grill cleaner use the butt end of an onion or a lemon that you would be throwing away anyway on a heated up grill. You may need to use tongs or a long handled fork to prevent your hand from cooking 🙂

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