The leaves are changing color and starting to fall and there’s a chill in the air. That can only mean one thing—football season is in full swing. And let’s face it, only half the fun of football is watching the game. Hanging out with friends and family, sharing good food and beverages at tailgate can be equally entertaining. Tailgating is a great way to socialize, but sometimes it’s not so kind to the environment. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. Check out the following tips for some easy ways to make your tailgate a little greener:
Reduce your consumption
No, we’re not talking about your food and drink consumption. Knock yourself out with the burgers and brats and eat as many chips as you want. But everything doesn’t need to come in individually wrapped packaging.
Buying in bulk and using reusable containers, serveware and linen do a lot to cut down on the amount of waste your tailgate produces. You can even search the internet to find numerous creative ways to repurpose common household items at your tailgate.
Here in Michigan, returnable cans and bottles are a no-brainer. Most tailgaters can rely on individuals (or the occasional boy scout troop) wandering through tailgate areas and collecting the returnables to cash in. You can usually count on someone taking your can or bottle before you finish the last swallow. But for those items that don’t have a deposit, make sure you have a container that’s convenient and labeled to collect recycling.
Find a volunteer to be the recycling coordinator for your tailgate. That person will be responsible for setting up the container and getting the recyclables to a drop-off or into his or her curbside collection after the game.
Green up your grilling
Charcoal versus gas has been hotly debated for centuries. (Okay, maybe just for decades.) But taste and grilling experience aside, the hands-down most eco-friendly option is grilling with propane. It’s more efficient and burns a lot cleaner than charcoal or wood, along with creating less waste.
If you’re a die-hard charcoal fan and can’t bear to convert to gas, try one of the new natural charcoals, skip the starter fluid and use an electric starter or a chimney instead.
Be smart about disposables
With all the great food and beverages at your tailgate, you need plates, cups and silverware. Not all tailgate food is finger food, after all. Ideally, these items would be reused for each tailgate. But when that’s not practical, consider your other options.
Check out plant-based and/or biodegradable dishes, cups and utensils (but be sure to read the label—some are only biodegradable under certain special conditions). At the very least, choose disposable dishes and utensils that can be recycled and are made of recycled material.
Put your waste to good use
Inevitably, you’re going to create some trash at your tailgate. But you can choose what happens to your trash. If you’re a Granger customer, volunteer to collect tomorrow’s energy and take the trash home to your own Curby cart. Not only will you be the hero of your tailgate, you can feel better knowing that waste will be used as a resource and made into renewable energy.
Introduce just one of these game-changing moves at your next tailgate and you’ll find no matter the outcome of football game, you’re a winner in Mother Nature’s book.