You don’t have to be a football fan to enjoy the camaraderie that goes with tailgating. From cheering on your favorite team to cooking game-time favorites, there’s something for everyone. With our list of eco-friendly tips, we’ll show how to feed your guests and root for your team, without leaving a massive carbon trail in your tracks.
If you have an electric vehicle, volunteer to be the designated driver and pick up a few of your buddies. If none of you own an EV, carpooling alone will save on gas and cut down on your carbon footprint. You can take it a step further and start the pre-gaming using public transportation. Exchanging friendly banter with a member of the opposing team sound fun? No matter which eco-friendly route you take, one thing is for certain: The planet will thank you for making the sustainable choice.
If you’re not a big fan of the game, the food is a good reason to join the fun. Cut down on your carbon footprint without cutting out the taste by creating side dishes from locally grown ingredients served in glass containers. Don’t feel comfortable breaking out the glass for the party? Pull out the foil pans. You can rinse and recycle them or use them again for the next shindig. Keep in mind that grab and go finger foods will also cut down on the urge to buy and throw away plastic utensils and paper goods.
Charcoal emits more than 100 times more carbon dioxide than propane. When it comes down to the two, propane is the more environmentally friendly option and burns cleaner than charcoal grills. In addition to using less fuel to cook your food, propane grills heat up quicker, so you can start serving your guests sooner. An alternative to gas and charcoal grills is an electric one. It’s an efficient and safe way to cook that can be powered by 100% renewable energy. Battery-operated portable grills and solar-powered grills are also gaining traction, so be sure to do your research on which will serve the planet best.
Give the planet and your pocketbook a break by having fellow tailgaters bring reusable plastic plates and refillable water bottles from home. Avoiding single-use plastics will cut down on waste, giving the organizer one less thing to worry about. Not a fan of this option? Go for biodegradable utensils and plates that will break down organically and be better for the environment.
Although you’ll be using refillable water bottles to stay hydrated, we know you’ll possibly have cans and glass in the mix. Keep a bag or bin handy for your recyclables. It might be a good idea to put a few people on duty for getting the disposables, recyclables and compostables to their final destination. There may even be larger stations set up right outside of your tailgating area.
Need apparel? Check your local thrift stores for secondhand jerseys, tees or gear in your favorite team’s colors. Thrift stores are also good resources for finding tables, chairs, cloth napkins and table cloths. Borrowing from friends and neighbors is another great way to eliminate an unnecessary purchase that could eventually end up as landfill waste.
Now that you have plenty of tips to keep your tailgating event lean and green, it’s game on! All that’s left for you to do is revel in your eco-friendly win.
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