Ah, the barbecue. The preserve of the meat lover. What is it about grilling meat on an open flame that makes it so delicious? The smell, the juices, the smoky flavour? Okay, now I’m hungry!
But as you’ve probably figured out, burning fuel to cook your delicious food and releasing a lot of smoke into the air, among other things, is not great for the environment.
If you’re eco-conscious, you might want to rethink how you barbecue. Different types of barbecues can affect the environment in different ways, so let’s take a look at the best and the worst.
Burning charcoal releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other particles into the air around your grill, and they give off ground level ozone, which is a kind of smog. It also gives off more carbon emissions than other types of barbecue.
They give off less carbon emissions than charcoal barbecue and they’re more efficient, but let’s not forget, propane and natural gas are not renewable fuel sources.
These are a good eco-friendly choice, but only if you’re using electricity generated from wind/solar/hydro power. If you’re not, these grills emit the most carbon emissions of all.
Have you heard of these? They run on compressed wooden pellets, and they’re better than burning charcoal. They don’t give off any of the nasties that burning charcoal gives off, and you get the added bonus of a nice woody flavour on whatever you’ve cooked up.
What if you don’t want to give up the charcoal?
If you just love the process and taste of grilling things over charcoal, opt for lump charcoal and forgo using lighter fluid. Try to reuse the charcoal when you’re done too.
No matter how or what you’re barbecuing this summer, make sure you do it in the greenest way you can and it will be better for the environment and your pocket.