Green Grilling

by Natural Resources Student Commissioner Daniella Taylor

As spring fades to summer, people are anxious to dust off their grills and gather for a BBQ with their family and friends (COVID safe of course). While sustainability might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to your annual 4th of July BBQ, there are some simple changes you can make that can help the environment without hurting your pockets. 

Just one of these changes can make a difference:

  1. Don’t let the coals continue to burn. If you use charcoal, after you’re done cooking, don’t let the coals continue to burn. Don’t burn more than you need, it only puts more unnecessary toxins in the air. 
  2. Compost. Don’t put your corn cobs to waste! Composting is a great way to not only clean up your vegetable scraps, but also make a positive impact on the environment.
  3. Use Green Cleaning Supplies. Use biodegradable grill cleaners, or make your own DIY cleaner using baking soda and water. Not only will the DIY option help keep toxins out of the air, but it will also save you money.
  4. Avoid Petroleum-based Lighter Fluids. When it comes to lighting your grill, avoid petroleum-based lighter fluids because they release petrochemicals into the air. Opt for an electric charcoal starter, or save money with a DIY firestarter. 
  5. Reduce Preheat Times. The more you know about how long it takes for your grill to heat up the better. If you can reduce the time coals are burning with nothing on it, you reduce emissions. 
  6. Avoid One-Use Plastics. Although red cups and paper plates are common at cookouts, opt for reusable plates and utensils to remove an abundance of single use plastics.  
  7. Trim Excess Fat From Meat. Trimming excess meat reduces the amount of harmful chemicals in the air while cooking
  8. Local Meats and Seasonal Produce. Supporting local butchers and meat suppliers reduces the amount of pollution caused by transportation. Seasonal and local produce typically means that less chemicals were used in growing the food, and less chemicals are needed for preservation. 

Make your grilling green this upcoming barbeque season!


“Green Grilling: Minimize The Eco Impact Of Your Summer Cookouts”. Food & Wine, 2021, Accessed 13 Mar 2021.

“Reduce Your Carbon Footprint With Green Grilling”. The Spruce Eats, 2021, Accessed 14 Mar 2021.

“How To Go Green: Barbecues”. Treehugger, 2021, Accessed 14 Mar 2021.