“Three out of four U.S. households own at least one barbecue grill. Among grill owners, 48 percent fire up with charcoal, 61 percent with propane, and 7 percent with electricity.
“Nationwide, the estimated 60 million barbecues held on the Fourth of July alone consume enough energy in the form of charcoal, lighter fluid, gas, and electricity to power 20,000 households for a year. That one day of fun, food, and celebration, says Tristram West, a research scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy, burns the equivalent of 2,300 acres of forest and releases 225,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.”
There are a couple of ways to improve the friendliness of your barbecue:
- Grill Power: Traditional charcoal briquettes give off more carbon monoxide, particulate matter and soot than other grilling methods.
- In combination with charcoal, lighter fluids contribute more to ground-level ozone. If you really can’t give up the lovely smoky flavor produced from grilling with charcoal, use lump coal instead of briquettes.
- If you’re in the market for a new grill, consider a cleaner burning propane or electric grill. To be truly green, you can look at solar ovens or stoves to avoid most emissions altogether.
- You can also switch from using lighter fluids to a chimney starter.