Green Guide to Tailgating

August 29, 2013

Kick-off is finally here and whether you cheer for your alma mater or the local pro team, chances are we all want to ensure our love for football has minimal impact on Mother Earth. And while the greenest tip would be to skip the drive to the stadium and watch at home, here are a few tips to help make your tailgate festivities more ecofriendly.

Rick Griffin of
MidlifeRoadTrip.tv sums up greener tailgating this way, “Use real utensils, cook with propane and wear water-soluble face paint!” We think Rick’s on to something.

Greener Grilling

Although it’s a fossil fuel, propane IS your lowest-impact grilling option as it burns much cleaner than wood or charcoal. Propane also leaves behind less waste, and is a convenient option for cooking next to an RV or on-campus. If you are committed to charcoal, be sure to pick-up a charcoal chimney or electric starter instead of using charcoal starter, which is rich in VOCs (volatile organic compounds. 

Ditch Disposables

I’ll be the first to admit that it is tempting to bring along paper plate, cups and napkins, but most of those dining disposables end up as litter or — at best —  in the local landfill instead of in a recycling bin. Instead, pick up some lightweight plastic settings. You may even be able to find inexpensive plastic options at your local second-hand store. Bring a spare cooler to store dirty dishes in the trunk until you arrive back home.

Here are a few other great tips:

  • Bring organic beer —  bonus points if it’s from a local brewery as less gas was spent transporting from a mass producer in another part of the country!
  • Use recycled trash bags, making sure to fill each as full as possible
  • Be sure to include bags or boxes for recycling glass and aluminum cans
  • Don't bring lots of individually wrapped snacks, they create a ton of waste
  • Haul off excess fruits and veggies for composting
  • Wear vintage game gear —  from your closet or found in re-sell shops —  rather than buying new every year

What is your favorite tip for living green while you enjoy football?