March 23, 2016 · Arts And Crafts · (No comments)

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Submitted by: Cherie Rasmussen

Grill without guilt this summer! While all of us love the summer cookout, it s time we realize what a toll it takes on the Earth. According to studies, the estimated 60 million barbecues held on the Fourth of July alone consume enough energy to power 20,000 households for a year. The cookouts on that one day burn the equivalent of 2,300 acres of forest and release 225,000 metric tones of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Do the numbers make you sit up and take notice?

If they do, as they should, it s no reason for you to give up the American tradition. Follow some eco-friendly steps to plan for a green barbecue this summer.

The most environmentally sensitive way of grilling is using the gas or electric grill. These burn cleaner than and leave a smaller carbon footprint than charcoal grills. In addition, they use less energy than a conventional cooktop or range oven.

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Burning charcoal releases carbon monoxide, particulate matter, soot, not to mention VOCs when you add lighter fluid. If you must use charcoal, use charcoal that is harvested from sustainable forests and is free from unhealthy coal dust and additives.

There are other ways to make your cookout eco-friendly. Use real plates, silverware, and cups for your cookout. Alternatively, use bio-degradable options like cornstarch silverware and bagasse plates for serving. Substitute paper napkins with cloth ones, preferably those made of organic cotton. Serve natural drinks like lemonade or iced tea instead of soda.

Being eco-friendly doesn t mean having to suffer the bugs in the outdoors. Use environmentally friendly creams and lotions. You could also burn citronella candles to keep bugs at bay.

When deciding on the food, go for local and organic options. Organic meat and produce are much healthier and help the environment by using less pesticides and chemicals. Buying food from your local grocer will not only be healthier, it will also reduce food miles, or the carbon footprint generated by transporting food. Buying food, drink, and utensils in bulk will help reduce the amount of packaging waste that will hit the landfill. Instead of buying cans of pop, buy bottles and serve in cups. Buy large portions of snacks and serve them in plates rather than in individual portions.

Above all, recycle. Put bottles and cans into the recycling bins. Recycle paper plates with your other household paper products. Compost scrap and leftover food.

To pull off a breakfast cookout successfully, you will need to prepare at least some of the food beforehand. Also, keep the menu simple. If for instance, your breakfast menu involves eggs and bacon, bread (or biscuits or muffins), juice, and coffee or hot cocoa; here s how to go about it. Do the bread, biscuits, or muffins at least a day before the cookout. Chill the juice. Pour the coffee or cocoa into thermoses. Slice bacon and pack only as much as you need to use. Crack eggs beforehand and place in a container.

Remember a little can go a long way. Do a green barbecue this summer you owe it to the earth.

About the Author: For more information about

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