By Rachel Bertsche for Green Goes Simple
Choose Gas over Charcoal
Natural gas and propane grills are more energy-efficient and leave less waste behind than does a charcoal grill. Charcoal grills actually release more carbon monoxide and other harsh chemicals into the air than any other fuel source.
Your best environmental bet is to use the real thing when it comes to dinnerware — disposable plates, napkins and silverware account for a huge amount of unnecessary waste. If you’d rather not run the dishwasher, opt for recyclable or compostable dishes, such as bamboo plates or corn-based utensils.
Say No to Lighter Fluid
The VOCs (volatile organic compounds) released by lighter fluid aren’t just bad for the environment, they’re no good for your guests either. If you choose to go with charcoal, use electric starters or charcoal chimneys instead of lighter fluid.
Eat Green — Literally
Even kids who can’t stand veggies may love them off the grill. And while the green stuff is more earth-friendly than most red meat, you can choose hormone-free and lean meats to keep it eco. Also be sure to trim the fat before grilling: It will cut down on the harmful carcinogens released into the air when fat burns.
Clean Your Cleanup
Use eco-friendly grill cleaners and remember that not all leftovers are trash. If you have a compost pile in your garden, fill it with corn husks, veggie peels and other biodegradable scraps.