Green Tailgating Tips

The football season is upon us, and no matter which team you’re cheering on, you can always win in green! Consider these tips to plan an eco-friendly, low-waste tailgate:

  • Car pool – Getting to the big game can be a hassle – sitting in traffic, trying to find parking, and hauling everything to your tailgate destination can leave you exhausted long before kickoff. Carpooling to and from the game will give you a chance to mingle with friends and family and save money on parking, all while creating less carbon emissions! Gather up your team and head to the game together!
  • Purchase sustainable paper ware or serve your dishes on reusable items- When purchasing tableware for the game, keep an eye out for biodegradable products and check out your local supermarket or look online at Branch for compostable silverware.
  • Green Your Grill—Natural gas grills are the most energy-efficient, but if you own a charcoal grill you can buy organic or natural lump coal.  They emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions and burn just as well as regular coal.  Once you are done, be sure to dispose of your ashes properly.  Charcoal ash can be toxic to plants and animals, so be sure to collect it all and place it in the garbage. Take it a step further by buying eco-friendly grilling tools like this bamboo set from!
  • Cheer on your local businesses- Purchase your snacks and groceries from local, organic grocers rather than getting take-out.  But, instead of heading to your traditional meat and veggie aisles, consider using locally grown organic food. This can help the environment by reducing chemicals used in processed foods and the transportation costs that usually come with shipping non-local food products.
  • Recycle, Recycle, Recycle! Don’t end up with trash bags the size of a pile up tackle! Create different bags or bins for recyclable items (like plastic, glass and aluminum) and color code them so everyone, even the youngest football fans, will make smart, easy choices. Remember that items with food waste on them cannot be recycled but you can use bio-degradable trash bags.  If you compost, your empty cardboard pizza boxes can be thrown onto the pile, but make sure to cut or rip them into smaller pieces first.
  • Compete to be a green team!  – It’s hard to find people more competitive than sports fans, so be sure to find out if your college or professional team has a zero waste game day program. The USC Office of Sustainability recently introduced a Zero Waste Tailgate Certification Program where fans can compete to reach certain levels of sustainability certification.

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